Mitsubishi’s new small car may be a Mirage for the United States

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 2, 2012

Mitsubishi is undecided on whether it will offer its new Mirage minicar in the U.S. Its annual earnings presentation given last Friday indicated that the Mirage will be launched in North America in the first quarter of 2013. The Mirage nameplate has not been seen in the U.S. since 2002.

Mitsubishi spokesman Roger Yasukawa said last Friday that the car will be offered in Canada but whether or not it will be available in the U.S. remains “under consideration."

Yasukawa said that it’s “still 50-50” now. As Mitsubishi ended the run of the Eclipse, Spyder and Endeavor last year, it would seem to make sense that the automaker has to give its dealers a new product.

The main issue is reportedly related to marketing budgets. Since the redesigned Outlander mid-sized crossover is slated to be launched next summer, the company thinks that launching the vehicles too close to each other could put too much strain on its very tight budget.

Yasukawa said that with the Outlander getting released in 2013, the company has to consider resources. Another factor in this issue is the product. The Mirage is small (with a length of 146.1 inches and a width of 65.6 inches).

It is also inexpensive and efficient and as such, it’s targeted at the masses in Southeast Asia. It’s produced in Thailand. The Mirage, which had its launch in Thailand last March, has the same size as the Chevrolet Spark that will come out this summer. It's shorter than the Kia Rio and the Ford Fiesta subcompacts (in five-door configurations) by more than a foot.

The Mirage is powered by either a 1.0- or 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine, with a continuously variable transmission sending power to its 14-inch wheels. Another reason could be that the Mirage's segment is only starting to become known in the U.S. market.

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