Mitsubishi considers offering the Mirage small car in America

Article by Christian A., on August 7, 2012

Mitsubishi will start selling the new Mirage small car in Japan on Aug. 31 and will be released next in Europe, Asia and Australia. This hatchback, the latest addition to the automaker’s product lineup for the U.S., is a key model for Mitsubishi’s global comeback plan. For this fiscal year, Mitsubishi is hoping to achieve sales of 200,000 Mirages globally.

It is planning to expand worldwide production capacity to 500,000 at its plant in Thailand. A new factory in China is being considered. President Osamu Masuko isn’t so keen on presenting the model in the U.S. since it’s too small for their tastes. However, he acknowledges that the developing and the mature markets are likely to embrace this global small car.

During a recent event in Tokyo, Masuko had said that various “market voices” said that this type of car would do well in terms of sales. He clarified that the company is still evaluating if it would be received well by Americans.

The 1.0-liter, three-cylinder Mirage will go up against models such as the Chevrolet Spark and will be positioned just below a compact segment that is already dominated by the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta.

These cars are frugal but it’s expected that gasoline prices will still have an impact on its sales. According to the testing cycle in Japan, the Mirage offers the equivalent of 64 mpg. This gives it the title as the most efficient gasoline-powered car in Japan. The EPA rating hasn’t been released yet.

It is priced at ¥998,000 in Japan, or about $12,548. It’s more expensive than the Nissan Versa, which costs from $11,770 in the U.S. (including shipping). It’s possible that if the Mirage is offered in the U.S., its price will be reduced from a direct yen-dollar conversion. There’s one problem though. Masuko said that its plain styling may put the model at a disadvantage in the U.S. He said that the company will decide soon.

Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi is parading the new 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage as the most conventionally powered vehicle in the United States. As proof, Mitsubishi revealed how efficient its new five-door subcompact is. According to the company, the new 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage with continuously variable transmission (CVT) system could return a fuel economy rating of 37 mpg city, 44 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined. These fuel economy figures, however, are yet to be certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency. But once these figures are confirmed, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage could boast of being the most fuel efficient vehicle in its class.

Despite parading such admirable fuel economy figures, the new Mitsubishi Mirage is still able to deliver spirited sprints in urban stop-and-go driving. It also features an ECO indicator that lights up to indicate whether the Mirage is being driven in the most fuel efficient manner. All models are equipped with Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control Logic (TCL), making the Mirage more stable when the system senses skidding or loss of traction.

Aside from the highly desirable economy figures and ample power, the new Mitsubishi Mirage is provided with a number of safety features as standard likes its seven-airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) – two front air bags, two front seat-mounted side-impact air bags, two side-impact curtain air bags, and a driver's knee airbag. In addition, the new Mitsubishi Mirage comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD); Brake Assist; and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). All CVT models are provided with Hill Start Assist (HSA) as standard.

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