The Mitsubishi Eclipse Returns! (Unrecognizable and in the Wrong Segment)
Today, Mitsubishi announced that its next model will be called the Eclipse Cross, acknowledging the defunct sport compact beloved by enthusiasts and teenage girls alike while simultaneously spitting on its memory. “Cross is short for crossover,” Mitsubishi helpfully explained in its announcement, as if anyone would have had trouble piecing that puzzle together.
“Eclipse is a word used to describe an astronomical event,” the Japanese automaker continued. “Marrying stylish coupe lines with the freedom of movement the SUV genre gives, the Eclipse Cross’ beautiful, dynamic form serves to bring about the same sense of excitement and inspiration as the diamond ring seen immediately before and after a total solar eclipse does.”
That’s sounds a lot better than saying it looks a lot like a Honda CR-V with a dash of Outlander.
Mitsubishi, like every automaker, is desperately trying to flesh-out its SUV lineup. It plans to shrink the next-generation Outlander Sport to help distinguish it from the much-larger Outlander. Changing the name might also help. Perhaps “Starion Cross” would work while remaining true to this new naming strategy.
The original Eclipse ushered in the 1990s as an American-made Japanese car riding on the Chrysler D platform, produced — along with the Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser — as part of the collaborative Diamond Star Motors program. The coupe’s third generation garnered lackluster feedback from the press, mainly for being muted and unexciting, and sales took a death plunge. It died in its fourth generation, less popular than ever and sharing its platform with the Endeavor and Galant.
The Eclipse Cross will be unveiled at next month’s Geneva International Motor Show, with Mitsubishi hoping to evoke fond memories of the once-popular sporty compact and better years gone by.
[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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