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Mitsubishi's Future in America Uncertain, New Small Models Coming as Larger Models Fade

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Mitsubishi's Future in America Uncertain, New Small Models Coming as Larger Models Fade


While Mitsubishi works on making a new global small car, any development on the future of its "larger" cars has been put on hold. What does that mean for Mitsubishi Stateside? Well, it doesn't look good.

The small car would possibly be offered here in 2012 (it's said to have sub-1.5 liter 3-cylinder engine), but it's hard to believe a small efficient car (and the Lancer family) could be enough to justify keeping the brand here. There's light on the horizon, but more on that in a bit.

First, about the larger "names" at Mitsubishi: Eclipse and Galant. According to a report from Autoweek, until a decision regarding their futures is made later this year, the PS platform-based Eclipse / Eclipse Spyder, mid-size Galant sedan, and mid-size Endeavor crossover are going to keep being built as they are in Normal, Illinois.

Now, if someone were to come in and provide Mitsubishi with an investment (PSA Peugeot Citroën, I'm looking your way), the plant could be retooled and updated to build some really neat cars. If not, then Mitsubishi may be stuck with less than a decent lineup.

Thankfully, there's that upside: a few new and interesting models will be showing up in the next two years in order to impress upon consumer's Mitsubishi's new brand image. What kind of image? That of a manufacturer of compact, efficient, and electric cars. People will like that, right?

First, there's the Outlander Sport / RVR / ASX that will take on Kia's Soul and Nissan's Juke this fall with the Lancer's 2.0-liter engine, and the i-Miev electric buggy kei car should appear later next year as a 2012 model. If Mitsubishi really expects people to seriously consider a sub-$30,000 i-Miev (good luck with that), consumers would need to be offered more than "a basic stereo system, air-conditioning and heating units and power windows and locks."

Meanwhile, the Lancer lineup and the Outlander should both expect a mild (aka cheap) refresh in the next few years.

What could Mitsubishi do to survive in the States? Any ideas? By now, I'm certain Mitsubishi is listening.



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