The Mitsubishi Outlander is a mid-size crossover manufactured by Japanese automaker Mitsubishi. It was originally known as the Mitsubishi Airtrek when it was introduced in Japan in 2001, and was based on the Mitsubishi ASX concept vehicle exhibited at the 2001 North American International Auto Show. It was sold at Mitsubishi Japan dealership chain called Car Plaza. The ASX (Active Sports Crossover) represented Mitsubishi's approach to the industry wide SUV trend for retaining the all-season and off-road abilities offered by a high ground clearance and four-wheel drive, while still offering car-like levels of emissions, economy and size.
The original Airtrek name was chosen to "describe the vehicle's ability to transport its passengers on adventure-packed journeys in a 'free-as-a-bird' manner", and was "coined from Air and Trek to express the idea of footloose, adventure-filled motoring pleasure." The Outlander nameplate which replaced it evoked a "feeling of journeying to distant, unexplored lands in search of adventure."
The second generation of the vehicle was introduced in 2006 and all markets including Japan adopted the Outlander name, although production of the older version continued in parallel. It was built on the company's GS platform, and used various engines developed by Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and PSA Peugeot Citroën. PSA's Citroën C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007, which were manufactured by Mitsubishi in Japan, are badge engineered versions of the second generation Outlander. Global sales achieved the 1.5 million unit milestone in October 2016, 15 years after its market launch.
As part of the third generation line-up, Mitsubishi launched in January 2013 a plug-in hybrid model called Outlander P-HEV. Cumulative global sales passed the 100,000 unit milestone in March 2016. Europe is the leading market with over 65,500 units sold, followed by Japan with almost 34,000. As of December 2016, the top European markets are the UK and the Netherlands, each country with about 26,000 units registered. The Outlander P-HEV was the top selling plug-in electric vehicle in Europe in 2014 and again in 2015. Both in 2014 and 2015, it also ranked as the world's top selling plug-in hybrid, and as the third best selling plug-in car after the all-electrics Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf. As of December 2016, the Outlander P-HEV ranked as the world's all-time second best-selling plug-in hybrid after the Chevrolet Volt, and fourth all-time top selling plug-in electric car.