Mitsubishi Previews a Global Supermini
Mitsubishi comes to the table with a new small-car concept meant for mass consumption.
Mitsubishi Global Small Concept
Like many Japanese manufacturers, Mitsubishi has struggled with unfavorable exchange rates cutting profitability and raising prices in competitive export markets like Europe. The e-compact it's showing at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show addresses this and other issues.
Officially a concept, the e-compact previews a yet-to-be-named small car that will be revealed in production form later this year and will be built in Thailand in what Mitsubishi describes as its global production hub.
2012 Mitsubishi e-compact
What is it? A global supermini concept previewing a production car adaptable to both developing and established markets.
What makes it hot? The e-compact previews the look of Mitsubishi's latest global car. Just over 12 feet long, it is specifically designed to be configured for different markets. Economies of scale mean the global concept can be priced affordably for developing markets, but can also incorporate the quality, safety and environmental measures required in Europe and the U.S. Although it is designed to incorporate an electric drivetrain eventually, the e-compact will be fitted with a 1.0-liter gasoline engine with Auto Stop and Go, brake regeneration and other features when it is released. A 1.2-liter engine will also be offered.
What concerns us? It's only a concept at this stage, so it's unfair to criticize too harshly. But in making the e-compact satisfy all markets Mitsubishi needs to be careful not to make it too anonymous compared with the likes of the MINI or Fiat 500.
How much and when? Pricing has yet to be announced. It will go on sale in early 2012.
Our verdict? Perhaps not the most exciting concept at the show, but Mitsubishi is clearly switched on to the challenge of satisfying global demand.
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