Mitsubishi Puts the I-MiEV Out of Its Misery

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

It’s always a little sad to see an existing model discontinued. Well, almost always. Mitsubishi is taking the hint and officially killing the unloved i-MiEV — something we are willing to bet isn’t going to inspire an abundance of heartache within the driving community.

Despite being a pioneering electric car (and kind of cute), the i-MiEV was never what one might consider a volume vehicle. Since 2015, North America had frequently seen months where the little Mitsubishi couldn’t even break out of the single digit sales bracket. Last year, Canada sold a total of 86 units and the United States moved 94.

With a 62-mile range rating and one of the smallest interiors money can buy, it has always been poorly suited for the majority of American drivers’ needs and repeatedly slashing the price never made up the difference. While Nissan’s Leaf comes in almost $8,000 grand higher, $22,995 is still a lot to pay for something you don’t want — and nobody wanted an i-MiEV.

Speaking to Green Car Reports, Mitsubishi Motors North America spokeswoman Erica Rasch confirmed that “2017 was the last model year for the i-MiEV, and all available retail units have been sold.”

It must have been a pretty short run, considering Mitsubishi only sold 6 cars so far this year in the United States.

Under leadership from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the Japanese automaker will now focus its EV efforts on the Outlander Plug-In hybrid — which is slated to hit dealerships in the first quarter of 2018.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

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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  • Thelaine Thelaine on Aug 07, 2017

    Every year I expect Mitsubishi to withdraw from the US market, but they march on, somehow, dragging a dead leg and smelling of failure.

  • Sirwired Sirwired on Aug 07, 2017

    I remain baffled why Nissan doesn't pull the plug on the brand in the US entirely, and just service the remaining customers out of Nissan service departments. Every Mitsubishi dealership I see looks like a place where a chain goes to punish their worst performers (or maybe it's a form of hazing for new salesmen... "You can't work for Land Rover sales until you sell at least four Mitsubishi's to buyers with a credit score over 700.") Every Mitsu dealership I see is the saddest and most neglected building in a chain, like the Used Car annex for a long-defunct brand like Oldsmobile, and some don't even have service bays. (One local Mitsu dealer apparently leases a couple bays from a nearby independent garage as their "service department"; I can only imagine the "Parts Department" is a shed in the parking lot or something.)

    • True_Blue True_Blue on Aug 07, 2017

      I've been to these dealerships, and bought parts and fluids from them. Recently, too. Your comparison is harsh... but not far from the mark.

  • TheEndlessEnigma TheEndlessEnigma on Aug 07, 2017 says there is still 1 for sale in Colorado, if anyone has a burning desire for one of these "things".

  • Rudiger Rudiger on Aug 07, 2017

    The only surprise here is that dealers were still selling these; I thought they'd stopped years ago. IIRC, even back then, they were trying to unload these at fire sale prices, chopping something like $8000 off MSRP and they 'still' couldn't get any takers. With an absurdly short range, as well as a very long charge time, these didn't make a whole lot of sense, even as a short range, second urban car. Even in one of those planned, senior retirement communities, a much cheaper electric golf cart would be a better buy, mainly because that could be driven on the myriad cart paths that litter those places. With an i-MiEV, although it would be enclosed and, presumably, have HVAC, you'd have to fight the normal traffic like everyone else.