While the new subcompact car will arrive in the North American market in early 2013, it will only make it as far as Canada. However, the idea of bringing the Mirage stateside isn’t too far-fetched. “It’s still 50-50 right now,” said Mitsubishi spokesman Roger Yasukawa during a presentation at the automaker’s headquarters in Cypress, Calif. Before Mitsubishi makes a decision, though, it has a number of factors to consider.
For starters, launching the Mirage in the near future could pose a marketing budget problem for Mitsubishi, especially since the redesigned Outlander crossover is due next summer. “Our concern from a timing standpoint is that with the Outlander coming out next year, not too far from a possible launch of the [Mirage], we have to really think about resources,” Yasukawa said.
Mitsubishi must also think about whether there is a market for the Mirage in the U.S. At 146.1 inches long and 65.6 inches wide, the Mirage is about a foot shorter than the Kia Rio and the Ford Fiesta hatchbacks. The Chevrolet Spark, which is due this summer, is the most similar in size to the Mirage, and it appears Mitsubishi will observe how the Spark performs first before experimenting with the Mirage. “It’s still a young segment that’s growing in the U.S., and we have to account for that in our decision.”
The subcompact econobox would also need especially low pricing for U.S. buyers to consider it. The Chevrolet Spark will start at $12,995 when it goes on sale. While a U.S.-spec Mitsubishi Mirage would require a competitive MSRP, if priced too low dealers might not make any profit. A base-model 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer DE retails for $16,490 including the destination charge.
The Mitsubishi Mirage, which launched last month in Thailand, will be powered by a 1.0-liter or 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine paired to a CVT, depending on the market. To increase efficiency, Mitsubishi minimized the Mirage’s weight, and added stop/start technology.
With gas prices remaining high, do you think Mitsubishi expand its U.S. lineup with the Spark-sized Mirage?
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)