Disappearing Mirage: Little Mitsu Could Soon Vanish UPDATED
It’s no secret that low-margin small cars aren’t the darlings of automakers. After all, why offer machines which eke out a few bucks when fat profits are waiting to be scooped by crossovers and SUVs? Nevertheless, some models remain – though if Mitsubishi’s home market website is accurate, the pool is about to shrink by one.
As reported by other outlets and confirmed by this site with the screencap above, Mitsubishi Japan is alerting shoppers that the selection of color and trim for their littlest hatchback may be limited because the ‘Mirage is discontinued’. That’s news to us, especially after the company plowed a few bucks into restyling the scamp and promoting it as part of its product mix.
In the States, a base Mirage ES starts at $16,245 and acts as one of the only new vehicles whose sticker price remains south of 20 grand. We will take this opportunity to note the manual transmission option has vanished (a harbinger, perhaps?). The 1.2-liter engine spins up just 76 horsepower but it’s worth remembering this car’s mission as a fuel-efficient commuter car – which is why your author has refused to take part in the popular sport of Mirage Bashing. This is an affordable car that knows its role as transportation for someone who wants a new car warranty. It even has cruise, automatic climate control, and Apple CarPlay fer chrissakes.
It’s not as if the Mirage is doing spectacularly poorly in terms of sales this year compared to other models in the Mitsubishi lineup. Through the first three quarters of 2022, the Mirage sold 12,763 units which is roughly the same total as the Outlander Sport and a few more than the Eclipse Cross. Outlander, meanwhile, does roughly as much volume as all three of them combined. Still, if company bean counters have figured out the small hatch doesn’t contribute too much to the bottom line, they have likely been jockeying for its departure.
Of course, this could all be a script for ‘Lost in Translation: Car Edition’. After all, the word ‘discontinued’ could simply refer to the model year in question – not the entire nameplate. It is not unusual for car companies to halt production of one in favor of another if there’s some sort of corporate decree about product mix or an asinine government fuel/environmental decree which inadvertently lays waste to an automaker’s plan.
But if the Mirage has met its demise in Japan, a market that embraces small cars, it’s surely on the chopping block in North America where customers vastly prefer those (profit-laden) crossovers.
Ed. note -- We've reached out to Mitsubishi for comment and will update if we hear back. We might not until next week -- most OEM personnel are on holiday break and are fairly incommunicado between Dec. 23 and the first business day of the next year.
UPDATE: A Mitsubishi spokesperson has responded: "I can’t comment on anything regarding the Japanese market, but Mirage remains an integral part of our US lineup at this time, along with Outlander Sport, Eclipse Cross, Outlander and the all-new Outlander PHEV just launching now."
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Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.
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