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.

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