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Sleek Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Concept previews next Outlander Sport

TOKYO — Mitsubishi Motor Corp.’s edgy, heavily creased XR-PHEV plug-in hybrid concept is a preview of the next-generation Outlander Sport compact crossover, President Osamu Masuko said today.

The vehicle, shown in candy-apple red at the Tokyo Motor Show, is a front-wheel-drive gasoline-electric vision of Mitsubishi’s future focus on utility vehicles.

The made-in-America Outlander Sport is Mitsubishi’s No. 1 seller in the United States, and the redesigned version will go on sale within three years, Masuko told Automotive News.

The arrival of an updated Outlander Sport is part of Mitsubishi’s mid-term business plan to lift North American sales 36 percent to 150,000 units in the fiscal year that ends March 31, 2017.

Masuko said the next generation will be offered as plug-in hybrid and with a traditional gasoline drivetrain. But he didn’t say whether both versions would go on sale in the United States.

The next-generation vehicle may continue to be built at Mitsubishi’s Normal, Ill., plant, where the current Outlander Sport is manufactured. But Masuko said he hasn’t decided.

If it is produced in Illinois, the factory likely would make only the gasoline version, he said.

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