Tag: Mitsubishi

By on December 9, 2016

Normal, Illinois (Ross Griff/Flickr)

An abandoned assembly plant in Normal, Illinois, could once again become a beehive of car-building activity.

Opened in 1988 as a collaborative effort between Chrysler and Mitsubishi, the plant served as headquarters for a great 1980s corporate relic — Diamond-Star Motors. In its heyday, the facility dutifully cranked out Plymouth Lasers, Mitsubishi Eclipses, and Eagle Talons, before Chrysler lost interest in the 50-50 deal.

Turned over to Mitsubishi in 1995, the plant soldiered on after Diamond-Star Motors bit the dust. What followed was a parade of forgettable nameplates — Mitsubishi Mirage, Eagle Summit, even the Dodge Stratus Coupe — before a final shutdown earlier this year eliminated the last of 1,250 jobs and production of the Outlander Sport.

Now, the 2.4 million square foot plant could soon be home to a shadowy new tenant. (Read More…)

By on October 21, 2016

1992 Mazda Cosmo, Image: Mazda

Since the 1980s, draconian federal importation laws have meant enthusiasts in the United States must wait a full 25 years before some of their favorite brand’s models are legal on these shores. And every year, groups of enthusiasts take to the internet to contemplate what cars will be available for importation with the turn of the new year. The arrival of each new calendar year then becomes a celebration of the past, a revisit of forsaken models, a festival of other-market obscurity.

The Land of the Rising Sun is becoming more than just a source for tuners looking for their next drift car. That’s right, Japanese cars are now collectible.
(Read More…)

By on October 20, 2016

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi has officially tied the knot with its savior, making Renault-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn the only automotive executive in the world (and possibly the galaxy) to head three companies.

The $2.29 billion deal gives Ghosn’s Renault-Nissan alliance a 34 percent controlling stake in Mitsubishi — a financial lifeline for the struggling, scandal-plagued automaker. Already, the company’s new chairman (and demoted former chair) have big, big plans for the Mirage maker.

Nissan-sized plans. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2016

1983 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado Junkyard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
Small pickups sold pretty well in the United States during the Malaise Era, and Ford and GM cashed in by importing and rebadging Mazda and Isuzu trucks, respectively. Chrysler, late to the party, turned to longtime partner Mitsubishi and began bringing in first-generation Forte pickups, starting in the 1979 model year.

Here’s a Dodge-badged version I found last week in a Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2016

1993 Mitsubishi Diamante wagon, Image: © 2015 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars

Carlos Ghosn, the synergizing executive that Sergio Marchionne only wishes he could be, isn’t mincing words when it comes to Nissan’s plans for fledgling automaker Mitsubishi.

According to the Renault-Nissan top boss, the deal between Nissan and Mitsubishi is “massive.”

(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2016

Mitsubishi-GT-PHEV-Concept

Mitsubishi Motors has flicked the light switch on a new concept vehicle that hints at its next-generation large SUV.

Unveiled in advance of the Paris Motor Show, the Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept’s dimensions and design elements could find their way into the next Outlander, as the automaker seeks a larger stake in the utility vehicle market.

And yikes, what a face. But that isn’t the whole package. (Read More…)

By on September 9, 2016

20160905_124117

Sometimes when you hear hoofbeats it really is zebras.

I was in Bowling Green earlier this week, visiting the NCM Motorsports Park and watching Danger Girl grind through a five-day SCCA license school. On the second day of this odyssey, I saw a final-form Saab 9-5 parked up front, all slab-sided purity and mascara-black facial menace. There’s something profoundly depressing for me about those cars; whenever I see them I think of the narrator of Susan Minot’s “Lust” who, in a moment of shellshocked profundity, says, “I could have loved that one.” (Read More…)

By on September 8, 2016

2015 Lancer Evolution Final Edition

The calendar says it’s closer to 2017 than 2015, but last year’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition hasn’t finished bleeding media ink.

The last Evo FE to roll off the assembly line is currently up on eBay, placed there by its parent company. A southern California food bank stands to benefit from the online auction, while a deep-pocketed Evo fanboy will gain untouchable bragging rights. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2016

U.S. Marines amphibious assault vehicle (U.S. Pacific Command/Flickr)

What a difference seven decades make. In the early 1940s, Mitsubishi Zeroes of the Imperial Japanese Navy tangled with U.S. Grumman Wildcats and Hellcats in the skies over the west Pacific. Now, the aircraft’s builder wants the U.S. Marines to sign up for its amphibious assault vehicle.

Japan is getting into the arms export game after scrapping a law forbidding it, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries now in talks with a U.S. company to partner on the vehicle, Reuters reports. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

I’m sitting on the pit lane of my local track — Atlantic Motorsports Park in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia — surveying the empty course. My helmet is on the seat beside me, my hands are gripping the leather-wrapped wheel, and I can hear the low growl of three-cylinders idling as they wait for me.

But before I get to that, a bit about what I’m driving.

This is the Mitsubishi Mirage G4. It’s what happens when the oft-cheapest new hatchback in Canada (depending on who is offering what cash on the hood that month) grows a trunk. Under the hood: a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that has 78 horses in there somewhere. Connected to that is a continuously variable transmission, the only transmission available on this SEL trim tester.

I do a quick check of the course to make sure it’s still empty. My foot hits the floor.

(Read More…)

By on August 9, 2016

Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II

There’s a sea change underway in America — the once-unstoppable passenger car now has a minority market share compared to SUVs and crossovers, according to July sales figures.

Mitsubishi, the troubled but earnest automaker desperately looking to boost its U.S. comeback, has plans to take a bigger slice of the crossover pie. A third utility vehicle is on the way, and it just stepped out from behind the curtain. (Read More…)

By on July 29, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Image: Mitsubishi

The long-anticipated Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid, expected later this year, has once again been postponed for the U.S. and Canada.

This is at least the fifth time it’s been delayed in North America since its 2013 Japan-market launch. Mitsubishi’s U.S. market public relations manager, Alex Fedorak, confirmed the latest delay.

“Following a thorough evaluation process, we have determined that, in order to meet a level of competitiveness that will exceed customer expectations in the United States, the launch of the Outlander PHEV will be delayed until the summer of 2017,” said Fedorak.

(Read More…)

By on May 31, 2016

Osamu and Toshihiro Suzuki

After the Mitsubishi fuel economy scandal triggered a Japan-wide investigation into fuel economy claims, Suzuki is now in a similar situation as its diamond-starred competitor.

But the reasoning behind Suzuki’s misdeed is different: the automaker, it claims, was destitute.

(Read More…)

By on May 25, 2016

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

A top Nissan executive is packing his bags and getting ready to take on Mitsubishi’s shadowy and scandal-prone technology arm.

Yesterday’s reports proved true, with Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan’s chief technology adviser, announced today as Mitsubishi’s new head of research and development. He will take on the position starting June 24.

There’s a tough job waiting for Yamashita. (Read More…)

By on May 25, 2016

1988 Mitsubishi Precis in California Junkyard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Hyundai Excel had a Mitsubishi engine, and so some obscure tenet of badge engineering mandated a Mitsubishi-branded Excel so it might drive on the same roads as Plymouth-branded Mitsubishis.

This was the Mitsubishi Precis, a car that was so stunningly bad and such a poor seller that this one is the first and only example I have ever seen in all my years of crawling through wrecking yards.

That makes it one of the rarest cars … in the world. (Read More…)

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