Yesterday, we featured an edition of Buy/Drive/Burn pitting three excellent Japanese sports cars against one another. All three were prime time, heavy hitters in their segment, and all three are remembered fondly for various reasons by the Internet Car People.
But some people thought there was a fly in the ointment — a big one. Hence today’s question.
There’s no denying that every last TTACer looked at the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross with a raised eyebrow. Not the intrigued kind, either. While the compact crossover’s design can certainly be called polarizing, an easy consensus existed in this chat room. Try again, basically.
As the resurgent Mitsubishi brand awaits new models build with help from its Renault-Nissan Alliance partners, a new addition to the team is ready to help sculpt those future vehicles.
Having already bastardized the Eclipse name by affixing it to a new crossover vehicle, there’s palpable fear within the automotive media that Mitsubishi might try the same with another iconic property. While FTO and 3000GT don’t have the right ring to them, we can imagine trendy performance SUV wearing an Evolution badge — to our chagrin.
In our fantasies, we imagine Mitsubishi bringing back a new, harder-hitting Lancer compact and a menacing mid-sized Galant. Maybe the Starion could even make an appearance. However, those models probably wouldn’t sell outside the Land of Make Believe even if they were stellar models. Sport utility vehicles and crossovers are where the money’s at right now, and cash is exactly what Mitsubishi is after.
Keeping that in mind, a new rumor claims the brand is working with Nissan to get its Alliance partner’s modular platform inside the Mirage, or whatever replaces it. The end result will be a small crossover with sporting pretensions, which doesn’t sound bad in the least.
At the end of the day, brand perception comes down to product, but no one likes visiting a dingy dealership. As the once-endangered Mitsubishi awaits a slew of lucrative new products (crafted with Nissan’s help), it figures it may as well begin sprucing up its dealer presence — not just in the U.S., but worldwide.
While the automaker’s U.S. division sits back and basks in the glow of June’s 46.2 percent year-over-year sale increase, head office is busy planning 5,000 renovations.
Chrysler started selling Dodge-badged Mitsubishis all the way back in 1970, then built plenty of Mitsubishi products in North America under the Diamond-Star Motors flag later on. The Mitsubishi GTO (sold as the Mitsubishi 3000GT and Dodge Stealth on this side of the Pacific) was built in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, and was one of the more interesting sports cars of the 1990s.
Here’s a 1995 Stealth R/T, photographed in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.
Car enthusiasts love to argue about cars, and will debate generally anything related to the topic ad nauseum. My wife knows not to talk cars with me unless she’s prepared to engage in an multi-hour discussion with outlines, Powerpoints, and 8×10 glossy photos. Discussions like these have birthed countless internet forums and blogs, including the usually brilliant comment section here at TTAC.
A common topic: are there any truly BAD cars anymore? We may all hate various brands or models because of poor prior experiences, but it can generally be assumed that all cars sold new in the U.S. can at least perform the basic function of a car satisfactorily for roughly the length of the factory warranty.
*Does it move sentient bags of meat from one place to another without parts falling off? Then it qualifies as NOT BAD.
Through that lens, then, we can look at the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander. It’s not a bad looking vehicle, and it certainly does what it’s supposed to. Broaden the view a bit, however, and it’s clear that there are few compelling reasons to buy Mitsubishi’s biggest crossover.
While assembling my website pages with links to every Eagle and Mitsubishi car I have ever photographed in wrecking yards, I learned something troubling: I had never shot an Eagle Talon. Sure, there was this Plymouth Laser Turbo and this much never Mitsubishi Eclipse, but no examples of the Eagle Division’s most beloved — well, only— sports coupe.
I resolved that I’d shoot the next Talon I spotted in a wrecking yard; that car turned out to be this one in Denver, from the final model year of Eagle.
Mitsubishi North America CEO Fred Diaz knows people think of his company as a purveyor of vehicles with a singular appeal: their affordability. The flip side of the coin is that people think the brand’s lineup is cheap, in the negative sense. Something must be done.
The regional boss of the automaker with the saddest Detroit auto show display knows that stigmas aren’t erased overnight. But he’s got ideas on how to turn things around. In the meantime, Americans are going out and purchasing ever greater numbers of the company’s cars. Especially last month.
Hunting for interesting junkyard Mitsubishis has become more difficult during the last five years or so, as the Cordias, Tredias, and Sigmas have mostly disappeared, leaving endless fleet-spec 21st-century Galants and Outlanders plus the occasional weird Chryslerbishi.
One of the few bright spots is the Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally Edition, an econo-commuter that looked quick but had a tough time catching Tercel EZs. Here’s one in a Phoenix self-service yard.
There are some vehicles on the market that offer bargain pricing without punishing their buyers.
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWC isn’t one of those.
Mitsubishi has seemingly been in “barely getting by mode” for years now, and the Outlander gives a clue as to why.
Mitsubishi raised the hackles of former Eclipse owners by naming its latest crossover — the Eclipse Cross — after the defunct sporty coupe. It now seems prepared to do the same to current Lancer owners.
The automaker claims there’s a new Lancer on the way, but it won’t be the same Lancer you fondly recall from years past. The market simply won’t support a traditional sedan or hatch anymore, the brand’s chief operating officer says — at least not with the kind of volume Mitsubishi desires.
No, this new vehicle will straddle the already blurred boundaries between a hatchback and a crossover. Excited yet?
Now part of an alliance with cash and platforms to toss around, Mitsubishi’s growing bolder in its quest to remind buyers that it’s not about to disappear from the American automotive landscape. Buyers, of course, are already helping the brand regain its footing. February’s U.S. sales were the highest since the heady and ominous year of 2007 (up 18.8 percent, year over year).
Through the end of February, U.S. sales are up 23.4 percent over the same period in 2017.
Having crawled out of the five-figure sales number nightmare that plagued the brand over the past decade, Mitsubishi dealers met in Las Vegas recently to discuss the near future. Some requests were granted, but a long-standing demand went unfulfilled.
One’s an ancient model that continues to sell in significant numbers; the other’s a fairly radically styled new model in the same compact crossover segment. Together, the Outlander Sport (RVR in Canada) and Eclipse Cross make up two-thirds of Mitsubishi’s utility vehicle lineup.
It seems these two rivalrous siblings — separated by $2,900 and a host of powertrain differences — will share the same segment for some time to come, as there currently isn’t a next-generation Outlander Sport in the pipe. We might wait nearly three years before one appears. In the meantime, anyone willing to shell out less dough for a two-row Outlander Sport can expect to save cash on gasoline, as well.
It may have the smaller engine of the two, the Eclipse Cross has the greatest thirst.
Unlike the ad campaign you’ve no doubt seen for the new Eclipse Cross crossover, Mitsubishi’s long-awaited Outlander PHEV plug-in arrived on North American shores with little fanfare. Outlander PHEV sales quietly kicked off in January, years after its overseas debut.
Even though it’s just arrived, news from the Geneva Motor Show tells us there’s changes afoot for Mitsubishi’s sole green model. More grunt is on the way.
Poor Mitsubishi. Its strange history has ushered in memorable models, an important alliance with Chrysler, success on the World Rally stage, a partnership with Jackie Chan, an epic fuel economy scandal, and building debt that eventually turned it into the sad creature we know today. But there is nothing to say it has to stay mired in that ugly situation. It’s getting ready to crawl out of the dumpster and will be getting plenty of help along the way.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance, which now includes Mitsubishi Motors, announced a reformatting of its executive lineup on Thursday — adding new areas, such as quality and car servicing, where all three companies will work in tandem. Bent on efficiency savings, the Alliance said it will seek to extend its convergence in the areas of purchasing, engineering, manufacturing and supply chains next month (when Mitsubishi also gets its new CEO for North America). The ultimate goal here is to maximize profits that can then used for advanced research and development.
Where does this leave Mitsubishi? In a much better position than it once was. Despite initial concerns that Renault and Nissan would attempt to relegate the brand to Asia, where it’s strongest, the Alliance opted to improve the company’s U.S. dealership network and grow sales by 30 percent to 130,000 units per year.
Once again, we’re going to keep it in the ’90s and determine which of three imported, alternative semi-luxury SUVs should burn at the stake. Are you ready for gold badges and two-tone? Rhetorical question.
Fred Diaz, who once headed the Ram brand before Nissan tapped him to lead the company’s truck division, has been put in charge of Mitsubishi’s North American operations.
While I’d love to run a headline saying something to the effect of “Mitsu Raids Corporate Cupboard for a New Raider,” I think the chances of a full-sized, badge-engineered Diamond Star pickup are somewhere between nil and nada, no matter the background of the brand’s new CEO.
Carlos Ghosn is pledging to solidify the alliance between Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Motors after agreeing to stay on as the French automaker’s chairman and CEO for the next four years. He also announced the companies will take the next few weeks to develop a plan to “make the alliance irreversible.”
While we’d love to hear about an automotive blood pact or — better still — a strategy to clone Ghosn for the next hundred years, the final plan will probably be a little more mundane. But, according to the chairman’s Friday announcement, it will not include a merger — at least not until the French government gets out of the way.
There are few things sweeter in life than bragging to your friends and family about the good deal you just negotiated on a new car. They certainly won’t care, but the amount of self-satisfaction received from reminding yourself that you are a force to be reckoned with at the dealership is immeasurable.
Of course, the bargain in the driveway can turn into a money pit once you calculate all the costs associated with vehicle ownership. Fuel costs, financing, insurance, and depreciation can all add up — especially if you purchased the wrong model. So what’s a thrift-obsessed shopper to do, calculate the total cost of ownership on every model in every segment over a five-year period to determine which is the best value overall?
Don’t be ridiculous, someone has already done that.
As we’ve told you before, Mitsubishi’s acceptance into the massive Renault-Nissan fold spells new opportunities for the struggling brand. Platform and technology sharing, affordably developed new models, no further risk of bankruptcy — the future looks a lot brighter than it did just a couple of years ago.
Among those potential new products is a pickup truck — a segment Mitsu’s courted in the past, with varying degrees of success. Apparently, the brand’s urge to join the growing pickup field hasn’t waned, but the timeline for another new product — a downsized Outlander Sport — now appears less urgent than it once did.
The alliance consisting of Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi Motors is currently searching for partners for a plunge into the robo-taxi business. While chairman Carlos Ghosn claims mobility will never replace traditional ownership, he acknowledges the need to explore other avenues to remain competitive.
“A lot of people think this is substitution. It’s not — it’s addition,” Ghosn said in November. “The traditional business of building cars and selling cars and owning cars is going to continue.”
However, the supplemental businesses aren’t going off half-cocked. Ogi Redzic, Alliance senior vice president, has said he’s personally overseeing about 1,000 employees tasked with developing connectivity services for the automotive group and intends to announce the partners for the new autonomous cab service in the coming months.
Earlier this week in TTAC’s always entertaining Slack chat, Adam Tonge suggested (without sarcasm) how the B&B might enjoy discussing the market entrants of the Diamond-Star Motors company and picking favorites. Shortly after this discussion, the very DSM Plymouth Laser we saw in yesterday’s Rare Rides fell right in my lap, and this all seemed like destiny.
Of the varied selection, which Diamond-Star Motors vehicle is your favorite?
I often joke that not only are we all destined to buy a crossover in the near future, we’ll one day become crossovers. Oh, how the TTAC guys laugh…
Still, it’s hard to avoid the crossovers-are-replacing-cars narrative, as it isn’t some far-out theory — it’s a cold, hard reality. Crossover and SUV market share grows each year as buyers abandon traditional passenger cars in favor of a vehicle that does everything at least marginally.
That said, not every model faces the same rate of abandonment. Certain cars — through a hazy combination of performance, value, nameplate recognition, and other, more nebulous factors — haven’t yet been dropped off on the front steps of the orphanage by their once-loving guardians.
Let’s take a look at some surprisingly healthy performers in the non-premium, non-sports car class. Cars that aren’t declining in popularity, as this analysis isn’t about overall volume. Guess what? None of these vehicles are the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, two models currently locked in a battle for midsize sedan supremacy (and worthy of their own singular coverage).
Hard to believe, we know, but there’s loyalty and desire to be found elsewhere.
Our last Rare Ride was the little hot hatch Isuzu I-Mark RS, which was just oh-so-80s. Today we move forward in time just four years, to a different sort of sporty hatch.
This one’s Japanese and American. It’s also turbocharged and all-wheel drive. Can you handle some extreme Diamond Star?
Let’s start this with a disclaimer – it’s always a gamble to rip on a car one has yet to drive. I could end up eating these words someday if I drive the Eclipse Cross and like it. Which, of course, is absolutely possible.
Still, I don’t feel it’s entirely unfair to judge a vehicle based on observations gleaned from an auto show display, as well as from the on-paper specs. Not so long as you disclose, as I did just now, that the assessment is subject to further examination. Hell, if it was unfair, auto journalists would have one less type of story to write after each show.
TTAC commenter Bruce suggested today’s Question of the Day, and he wants to talk tech features. Specifically, the kind which are all the rage for a short period of time, then fizzled into nothingness.Today we ask you to tell us about automotive tech flops – past, present, and future.
As I scanned my social media feeds last week, I noticed a fair amount of journalists posting that they were headed to the Tokyo Motor Show on Mitsubishi’s dime. While automaker-funded junkets to an international auto show aren’t uncommon – I’ve been on such trips myself – the fact that it was Mitsubishi footing the bill for international airfare and hotels in one of the world’s most expensive cities raised my eyebrows.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a screed about journalistic ethics and press junkets. I only mention it because automakers don’t spend that kind of money on media without a purpose. They have something in mind that they want covered, and while they won’t attempt to dictate that the journalists report only glowingly about what they’re doing (at least I hope not), they will expect coverage, even if it’s neutral or negative, from those they flew out there. All publicity being good publicity, that sort of thing.
Last year, Nissan answered Mitsubishi’s prayers by purchasing a majority stake in the struggling Japanese automaker. The company had started out strong in North America at the dawn of the 20th century, with U.S. sales topping 345,000 in 2002. Six years later, volume had fallen by nearly 85 percent.
Mitsubishi was a dead brand walking, at least on these shores.
Now adopted by a wealthy parent, Mitsubishi has access to Nissan’s technology and platforms, but don’t expect the two automakers to start joint production of new products anytime soon. Only two new models — one with a horrible name, the other a long-delayed niche vehicle — will appear in showrooms before the end of the decade.
Still, Mitsubishi is planning for a 30-percent bump in U.S. sales by early 2020. Product isn’t the sole player in the company’s new growth strategy.
Mitsubishi is by no means starting from scratch in the U.S. market — the product lineup is much too stale for that. But with a new marketing agency, Butler Shine Stern & Partners, coming on board and a new crossover, the Eclipse Cross, set to arrive at dealers soon, Mitsubishi is clearly not in the same position in 2017 that it was in 2009.
2017 is set to be fifth consecutive year in which Mitsubishi’s U.S. volume improves and the first year since 2007 in which Mitsubishi sells more than 100,000 vehicles. That’s still a far cry from 2002, when Mitsubishi sold 345,000 vehicles, but Mitsubishi has reasons to be pleased with the growth.
Perhaps more than any other change at Mitsubishi’s U.S. operations, however, the arrival of the plug-in Mitsubishi Outlander symbolizes a new day for Mitsubishi Motors North America. It is, after all, finally here after years of delay, and it’s an exclusive product for Mitsubishi’s dealers, free from direct competition. Yet while the dawn of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV speaks of further commitment to the U.S. market, it’s not by any means about to become a popular vehicle.
Mitsubishi gets a lot of mileage out of its defunct nameplates, but it remains steadfast in its unwillingness to provide enthusiasts with the car they’ve been asking for.
You remember the Lancer Evolution. It’s the car you saw Tommi Mäkinen use to win four consecutive WRC driver’s titles in the late 1990s. It’s the car you clocked the most hours in with your favorite automotive-themed video game. Maybe it was even a car you owned and used to embarrass vehicles well outside of its price range.
That rally-ready sedan is dead now. However, Mitsubishi is taking the Evolution name and adhering it to a fantastical new prototype. Called the e-Evolution, the automaker is serving up a recipe similar to the Eclipse Cross: Borrow a name from a retired model and slap it on an ultra-modern crossover. The difference here is that the new Eclipse is a real automobile while the e-Evolution is a self-indulgent exhibition of semi-real technologies.
Even though North American Mitsubishi sales have ticked upward in recent years, the current decade has not been kind to the brand. Volume is roughly a quarter of what it was just 15 years ago and the bulk of those deliveries come from the Outlander and Outlander Sport.
When your entire existence hinges on a couple of models, you do what you can to keep them relevant. While plug-in hybrids aren’t exactly a massive sales draw, they’re gaining ground and Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV bests most of its EV competition in Europe. Naturally, the automaker deemed it worthy of coming to America (on the slowest boat imaginable).
We know this exciting news probably has you squirming in your chair, covering your mouth as you utter uncontrollable squeaks of joy. But hold on, we haven’t even told you about the price.
Between its peak in 2002 and the depths of the recession in 2009, Mitsubishi’s U.S. sales plunged 84 percent. Market share plunged from more than 2 percent to less than half of 1 percent. Could the company survive in America?
The loss of product gave observers even more reason to doubt the brand’s staying power. Bigger SUVs such as the Montero and Endeavor disappeared. Mitsubishi’s midsize sedan, the Galant, generated its final sales in early 2014, a decade after the Mitsubishi Diamante departed. The discontinuation of the Eclipse and Lancer Evolution spelled the end of Mitsubishi’s performance bona fides. Then Mitsubishi also ended the Lancer, leaving the Mirage G4 to fight America’s sedan battle.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi’s plans to bolster its U.S. lineup haven’t always translated to reality. The Outlander plug-in hybrid was initially bound for the U.S. market in 2014 or 2015 — it’s still not here. As for U.S. production, which Mitsubishi’s president Osamu Masuko said in 2013 would not end, the final U.S.-built Mitsubishi rolled off the Illinois line last year.
Despite the heavy load of evidence that would support the belief that Mitsubishi Motors USA was on its death bed, Mitsubishi is on track in 2017 to sell 100,000 vehicles in the U.S. for the first time since 2007, having enjoyed five consecutive years of growth. Settling in for the long haul, Mitsubishi has also signed Mini’s old ad agency, Butler Shine Stern & Partners.
A couple weeks ago we took a look at a tidy, light blue Nissan Stanza Wagon, which we determined was a very early example of the crossover breed that would heat up decades later. I can happily report the Stanza was quickly snapped up by an automotive enthusiast who plans to take good care of it. Since that little light blue square is off the market, I found a different vehicle of the same general purpose (and color).
Let’s trot on over and take a look at the Colt Vista.
Earlier this week in his Question of the Day, Matthew Guy asked everyone to share a favorite vehicle from their year of birth. An interesting walk through history ensued in the days following, and I encourage each of you to head there and read through the comments if you haven’t done so already. You’ve probably already guessed from the title above where I’m going with this particular question.
Today’s inquiry is all about the worst, steamiest pile of junk on sale the year you were born. Let’s get down and dirty.
Today marks the third and final entry in our Domestics Abroad miniseries. This is where we take a look at the models proffered around the globe that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille, but are not offered in the brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.
We kicked off this series with Ford and its 13 qualifying models. Second was Chevrolet, which had 9 models accounted for, and one which I forgot (you can see it below the jump). The Unmentionables will cover the remaining international offerings from Buick, Dodge, and Ram.
♪ Stand by your cars (temporarily),
And show the world you love them (temporarily) ♪
– Not Tammy Wynette
Mitsubishi Canada has decided to double the length of its comprehensive warranty and the duration of its roadside assistance, standing by its products like never before, and like nobody else, in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary.
The celebration won’t last. Mitsubishi’s willingness to stand by its products for a decade goes only so far. One-upping Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 campaign pledge, the “10-10-10” plan — 10-year/160,000-kilometer comprehensive coverage and 10-year/160,000-kilometer roadside assistance, in addition to the existing 10-year/160,000-kilometer powertrain warranty — is a limited-time promotion.
“For the summer of 2017, we’re making the best warranty in the business even better,” says Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada CEO Tony Laframboise.
Thus, this is the summer of Outlanders, Canada. The summer of RVRs, Canada. The summer, I dare say, of Mirage.
Though the 10th-generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is barely cold in its grave and the Lancer on which it was based is also being put out to pasture, Mitsubishi does intend to replace the brand’s former Subaru WRX STI challenger.
In 2023, or thereabouts. Maybe as early as 2020 or 2021.
But the next Mitsubishi Evolution is not likely going to be a proper rival for the WRX STI.
Mitsubishi COO Trevor Mann suggested to Motoring that the next Evolution won’t be a sedan-based performance car, but rather a high-end variant of an upcoming SUV. “In terms of the brand, I think it would be interesting to bring something back that’s a bit more sporty in the future,” Mann said. “You’ll have to wait and see what that is.”
We know Mitsubishi has little regard for former nameplates being restricted to their former class designations. So it’s time you prepared yourself for the 2023 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Evolution.
Mitsubishi’s new ownership spells big changes for the automaker’s product future, but the controlling stake recently purchased by Renault-Nissan also means the newly joined automakers will partner on financial services.
As such, buyers in three markets will soon be able to turn to Nissan for a loan on a new Outlander or Mirage. Sorry, Americans — there’s good reason why Mitsubishi’s U.S. financing arm is staying put for now.
As Mitsubishi prepares to launch a new small crossover, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Mitsubishi’s car lineup continues to shrink.
The Galant died in 2012. The Mitsubishi Lancer, it was revealed earlier this year, will cease existence in the U.S. market later this year. But the Lancer’s American goodbye, via a blacked-out Limited Edition, won’t represent its final North American goodbye.
Mitsubishi Canada still wants the Lancer, the brand’s best-selling model as recently as last year, at least until 2018. And Mitsubishi Canada won’t bid farewell to the Lancer until the car can be given “ a uniquely Canadian sendoff.”
We assume this means Tim Hortons’ double-doubles inserted in the cupholders straight from the factory along with a hockey bag in the trunk and a curling broom roof rack.
While nothing is set in stone just yet, Mitsubishi should have a blueprint for its U.S. product strategy as early as September. The automaker, recently enlivened by its entry into the Renault-Nissan Alliance, suddenly finds itself with new options on the table as it plots a course towards greater U.S. market share.
Part of that strategy will likely mean covering segments now left empty in the brand’s product lineup. Before entering the Alliance, Mitsubishi’s main goal was getting more utility vehicles out the door, and that will remain the company’s growth driver in the near future, says chief operating officer Trevor Mann.
Still, the newfound ability to share components and platforms with Nissan opens the door to interesting new possibilities, and Mann knows what he wants.
Carlos Ghosn, the CEO for both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, says a full merger between the two automakers is out of the question. Instead, he wants Mitsubishi to get its act together and strengthen the greater alliance, which also includes Renault. Nissan purchased a controlling stake in Mitsubishi for $2.3 billion in 2016 after the smaller automaker weathered years of profitability issues and admitted to posting misleading fuel economy estimates.
While Ghosn agrees that Mitsubishi and Nissan should co-develop a select number of vehicles, he wants to help the brand bring itself back from the brink by focusing on its strengths and fixing its weaknesses.
“A full merger is not on the table. We want Mitsubishi to reform itself,” said said at the opening ceremony for a new Mitsubishi factory in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Maybe it’s not the product, but the dealerships? It might not be the solution to all of the problems facing an increasingly less troubled Mitsubishi north of the border, but it can’t hurt.
Under a new five-year plan, the automaker plans to revamp and modernize all of its 90 Canadian dealers. Bright, glassy and inviting, the redesigned dealerships are worth the expense if it helps draw more buyers into a customer base that hasn’t grown much in years.
The first non-Chrysler-badged Mitsubishis arrived in the United States for the 1983 model year, in the form of the Cordia, Tredia, and Starion. They weren’t enormous sellers, but they made the Mitsubishi name a bit more familiar to American car shoppers. For 1985, Mitsubishi USA brought over the fifth-generation Galant, hoping to steal some sales from the extremely popular Honda Accord. Galant sales were not brisk, to put it mildly, and so I found it noteworthy when I spotted this first-year-of-importation Galant in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard.
With Carlos Ghosn out as Nissan’s chief executive, Hiroto Saikawa has some well broken-in shoes to fill as the brand’s new CEO. Only ten days into the job, Saikawa says he doesn’t want to stray too far from groundwork laid by his predecessor. However, both men face an interesting problem in deciding what should be done with Mitsubishi.
Ghosn loves a fixer-upper and has already decided to dedicate much of his time to bringing Mitsubishi back from the brink, now that it’s part of the Renault–Nissan Alliance. He managed to help Nissan out of its decade-long slump in the early 2000s, so perhaps he can do the same for Mitsubishi now. However, according to Saikawa, that’s going to involve carefully assimilating the struggling automaker into the greater alliance.
That could mean taking Mitsubishi by the hand and offering it European models wearing the three-diamond emblem.
Sit back and place a nitroglycerine pill under your tongue. It’s product announcement time.
As it revamps its utility vehicle lineup, Mitsubishi isn’t letting the looming introduction of the poorly named Eclipse Cross compact crossover stop it from foisting attention upon its existing products. To keep things fresh, the automaker plans to revamp its very own Eclipse Cross competitor — the Outlander Sport — for 2018.
So, say goodbye to the aging model you see above. Wait — hold on. That is the 2018 model.
If you’ve ever been inside a Mitsubishi Mirage, you know its only slightly preferable to being hogtied and drug behind a much nicer car. Its engine is beyond anemic at highway speeds, there is an uncomfortable level of road noise, and it’s about as luxurious as a shoebox. The Mirage is the rental you receive when the “special value” option seems too good to be true — because it is.
Prepare yourself for a brain aneurysm as you read the following sentence: The Mitsubishi Mirage is, according to the Automotive Science Group, the best performance vehicle money can buy. That, and Mitsubishi is honored as the “Best All-Around Performance Brand.”
How could this possibly happen?
Over time, certain terms begin to evoke very specific images in the minds of human beings. For instance, when someone utters the word “truck,” a medium-blue color circa-2010 F-150 comes to mind. “Luxury sedan” triggers competing images of a circa 1998 Lexus LS400 (in gold) and a W126 Mercedes-Benz S-Class of two-tone variety, probably black over light grey.
And “sports car”… well, that’s a red basket-handle Toyota Supra, or our Rare Ride of today: a Mitsubishi 3000GT.
The fifth-generation Mitsubishi Galant came in a funky “pillared hardtop” configuration for the United States market in the 1988 through 1990 model years. Few bought them and almost none survived into the current century, making a Sigma one of the rarest of Junkyard Finds. Five years ago, I found this ’89 in a California yard, and now I have discovered this ’90 in Denver.
Ahead of its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Mitsubishi has lifted the curtain on a new compact crossover with a familiar — but now confusing — name.
Yes, the 2018 Eclipse Cross bastardizes the memory of that sporty coupe your 18-year-old co-worker once owned, but the name is the least of anyone’s concerns right now. Shoehorned into the lineup to give Mitsubishi a new player in a scorching-hot segment, the Eclipse Cross sports styling that can charitably be described as controversial.
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.
The great philosopher Jerry Seinfeld one ridiculed automobile naming conventions, reserving an extra helping of scorn for the long-running Ford LTD.
“Yes, it’s limited to the number we can sell.”
Mitsubishi won’t have to worry about jokes — not that particular joke, anyways — when it trots out the Outlander Sport Limited Edition to its dealer network. The value-packed variant, inserted near the bottom of the trim ladder, is, like the model itself, not long for this world.
A few tech-conscious Americans are still waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for the capable and big-in-Europe Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — a plug-in crossover introduced in 2014 — to arrive on these fair shores.
Everyone else, however, has had ample time to scratch that compact crossover itch with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Dodge Journey (the midsize priced like a compact), and a host of others. A lesser proportion of buyers opted for the smaller Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (aka RVR in Canada).
Crossovers and SUVs aren’t just big — they’re essential. Without them, automakers are left shaking the money tap to loosen a few extra drops of cash. Well, Mitsubishi doesn’t want to shake the tap anymore.
“People keep asking if we’re going to go away,” Mitsubishi Motors North America COO Don Swearingen told reporters earlier this month.
Seemingly anticipating yesterday’s TTAC QOTD — Does Mitsubishi Need To Exist? — Swearingen was defending Mitsubishi’s approach to the North American market following the automaker’s partial takeover by its Nissan compatriot.
Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn claimed the Mitsubishi chairmanship in October after spending $2.3 billion in exchange for 34 percent of the company’s automobile manufacturing business.
Three months later, The Detroit Bureau reports, Mitsubishi North America’s Swearingen said, “We are separate companies and will remain competitors.”
Set aside TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch for a moment to mourn the passing of a compact car: the Mitsubishi Lancer.
Motor1 reports production of the Lancer will end in August 2017. There will be no replacement.
Mitsubishi vacated the midsize segment four years ago in the service of providing evidence — along with the defunct Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, and Suzuki Kizashi — to support TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. Mitsubishi’s overall U.S. sales volume hasn’t suffered as a result. 2016 was the brand’s fourth consecutive year of improved sales in America.
With plans to bolster its crossover lineup, it now appears Mitsubishi’s U.S. dealers won’t suffer greatly from the loss of the increasingly low-volume Lancer, either — at least, not relative to the recent past.
After inking the deal that brought Mitsubishi Motors under his corporate umbrella, Nissan-Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn said the acquisition would have a “massive” impact on the struggling automaker.
By sharing the alliance’s technology, platforms and engines, Mitsubishi can look forward to a brighter, product-filled future, he claimed. Full integration is still years away, but a new report sheds some light on the first all-new product born of the $2.29 billion deal.
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.
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.
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.
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.