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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this play, Nissan is President Jimmy Carter and Mitsubishi is a bankrupt New York City.
He’s been with the company since the Plymouth Sapporo/Dodge Challenger era, but Mitsubishi president Tetsuro Aikawa’s tenure comes to an abrupt end in June.
Aikawa stepped down today after less than two years at the helm, the victim of his company’s ongoing fuel economy scandal, according to an announcement from the automaker. Ryugo Nakao, the company’s executive vice-president in charge of quality, is also out the door.
Yesterday’s vague Japanese media reports proved right this morning, as Nissan Motor Co. announced it will purchase a 34 percent controlling stake in scandal-plagued Mitsubishi Motors.
Taking advantage of Mitsubishi’s reduced market value following the company’s admission of cheating on Japanese fuel economy tests, Nissan’s 237 billion yen ($2.2 billion) bulk buy of shares makes it the automaker’s largest shareholder.
It’s a big win for Nissan, which can take credit for exposing the gas mileage scandal less than a month ago.
Nissan Motor Company wants to buy a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors, according to a report by the Japanese broadcaster NHK.
It’s a Dodge Caliber festooned with a seven slot grille and boxy proportions. It exists for no other reason than to leverage the brand equity built up by decades of Jeep heritage. The Patriot*, according to your nominations, our writers, and your votes is — by far — TTAC’s 2016 Worst Automobile Today.
After all the votes were cast, a staggering 66.1 percent of you believed the Jeep Patriot to be the worst new vehicle money could buy. And, as many of you guessed, it’s not the only Fiat Chrysler Automobiles product in the Top 10.
After admitting it fudged fuel economy data for the past 25 years in Japan, Mitsubishi Motors wants the Environmental Protection Agency to know that its U.S. vehicles are A-OK.
The automaker claims it conducted an internal audit on vehicles from model year 2013 to present and contrasted that data with figures it had previously submitted to the EPA. The conclusion? The information’s fine.
Chrysler imported and rebadged quite an assortment of Mitsubishis during the gloomy years of the Malaise Era, and we have seen a good sampling of those cars in this series so far. There was the Mitsubishi Colt Galant aka Dodge Colt, the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda aka Plymouth Sapporo/Dodge Challenger, and the Mitsubishi Mirage aka Plymouth Champ, among others.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste aka Plymouth Arrow was never a big seller, but this one managed to outlive nearly all of its brethren, only washing up at this Northern California self-service yard after 36 years.
Mitsubishi’s fuel economy scandal blew up yesterday after the automaker admitted it has issued misleading mileage data since C+C Music Factory was at the top of the charts.
The scandal that started with inflated mileage numbers on a single minicar one week ago now extends to all Japanese market Mitsubishi vehicles sold over the past quarter century. Reuters is reporting that the automaker compiled fuel economy data using U.S. standards, rather than the Japanese standards that factor in much more city driving.
A day after its head office was raided by Japanese Transport Ministry officials, the U.S. is going to put Mitsubishi’s mileage claims under scrutiny.
Mitsubishi has a plan to gain market share in the U.S. that’s right out of the ’80s.
Dealers were told during last weekend’s National Automobile Dealers Association conference that Mitsubishi will introduce turbocharged engines to model line, according to Automotive News.
The forced-induction renaissance will begin with a 1.5-liter mill powering the automaker’s planned midsize crossover, expected in 2018, which will slot between an enlarged Outlander and the Outlander Sport.
Mitsubishi confirms it is going to shoehorn another SUV into its lineup to tempt those utility-hungry Americans.
That, Volvo wants everyone to buy S90s from their beds, Fiat Chrysler isn’t having a dealer’s trash talk, UAW bolsters its ranks, and your gas is going up … after the break!
The Dodge Raider was a transparently badge-engineered first-gen Mitsubishi Montero (known as the Pajero in much of the world), available in the United States for just the 1987-89 model years. The Montero wasn’t a big seller and its Raider sibling was a rare sight even in the late 1980s. I find the more obscure Chrysler-badged Mitsubishis fascinating, so I photograph every Raider I see in the junkyard.
Mitsubishi today pulled the cover off its new Mirage G4 sedan, which adds a longer wheelbase and a trunk to the occasionally-maligned subcompact, the 2016 New York International Auto Show. As we noted with the restyled hatchback, 4 more horsepower — for a total of 78 — will hum from the Mirage G4’s 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine, and Mitsubishi will make available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as an option.
Is there a chance that a leadership change at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported by Automotive News could lead to an often-speculated new pickup truck?
Jeep’s longtime director Jim Morrison is leaving that post to head the Ram pickup and commercial vehicle division, replacing Bob Hegbloom, who is leaving for the global shores of Ram International.
Ram and Jeep are by far FCA’s biggest moneymakers these days, and under Morrison’s watch the Jeep brand took on new prominence by expanding its range of models, even if it meant adopting architecture sourced from (sacrilege!) Fiat.
The news of Morrison’s switch to Ram raises the question, “Is this the person who will take the Ram brand in a smaller direction?”
I try not to repeat manufacturers too quickly in this series of digestible crapwagons, save for last September’s Wolfsburg Week. I know I get bored writing about the same OEM, as I’m sure you like the variety. However, when I finally find a clean example of a car that has been on my wish list, I can’t help but feature it, no matter how recently we’ve seen the badge.
I never expected Mitsubishi to be the quickly-repeated marque.
Mitsubishi in Canada on Monday posted a teaser shot of the rear end of the new Mitsubishi Attrage that’ll make its debut in Toronto at the 2016 Canadian International Auto Show next month before it goes on sale in the U.S. and Canada.
Mitsubishi’s spokesman John Arnone posted a picture of himself standing next to the sedan at a shoot in Vancouver, which doesn’t really leave much to question. It’s clearly the small sedan, which will be one of two new models bound for Canada and the U.S. in 2016.
Perhaps next we’ll get a teaser of the Outlander PHEV’s roof with a Tim Horton’s coffee cup sitting on it. Thrilling stuff.
Chevrolet might be trying to sell its newest Spark in the United States for $12,660 ($13,535 with freight), but the automaker is bringing its game to other low-priced subcompacts in Canada with a starting price of $9,995 CAD ($11,595 CAD with freight/PDI).
That means the Spark costs $6,880 USD on the Canadian side of the border after adjusting for current exchange rates. Either GM Canada is taking a massive financial hit on the Spark, or Americans are getting hosed — by $5,780 USD, to be exact — for the Korean-made hatchback.
According to a report last week from Japan’s Nikkei, the Mitsubishi Montero — known as the Pajero in other global markets — is totally, completely, and utterly dead. Mitsubishi will instead focus on crossovers and electrification going forward.
Mitsubishi had teased “The Return of a Legend” earlier this year before the Chicago Auto Show, which many in the automotive press — including TTAC — thought might be a replacement for the flagship SUV. The automaker showed instead its Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV.
According to the Nikkei report, Mitsubishi has all but stopped development on a new Montero/Pajero. The large SUV was last redesigned for the 2006 model year, but that generation didn’t make it to the United States.
Monday was the final day for many workers at Mitsubishi’s Normal, Illinois facility as the plant mostly shuttered operations after 27 years.
WEEK reported that roughly 900 workers finished work Monday before turning in their badges at the plant. About 300 workers will stay until May to produce parts for Mitsubishi, who announced in July that the plant would be closing.
Many of the workers told the TV station that they were too young for retirement and would be looking for work.
“I am going to have to find a job some place else,” Barbara Fisher told WEEK. “I’ll have to look for a job wherever I can find one. If I have to go out of town, I will go out of town.”
Mitsubishi’s sedan offering in the United States may very likely begin and end with its Mirage ( which Mark says they didn’t ruin for 2017) as the company builds more and more crossovers to sell.
“We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction,” CEO Osamu Masuko told Automotive News. “We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.”
Mitsubishi will announce a mid-sized crossover to fit between its Outlander and Outlander Sport, which are both due for a redesign in 2017 and 2019 respectively. The automaker is also betting big on electrification: all of its crossovers will either offer a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric version.
Seriously, they did! Look at it! Instead of being some anonymous South Asian egg, the Mitsubishi Mirage now looks like an anonymous European egg.
Okay, okay. It isn’t going to set your heart alight with desire, but Mitsubishi has done a stellar job upgrading the Mirage with the few resources it has at its disposal. This little subcompact hatchback will be the first Mitsubishi ever to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Its 1.2-liter MIVEC three-cylinder engine gets an ever-so slight bump to 78 horsepower (+4 over the current Mirage). The Japanese automaker even gave the exterior and interior a fairly thorough re-work considering this is a mid-cycle refresh. And considering this is Mitsubishi we’re talking about here.
Those of you who were totally sold on the Rockford Fosgate special edition, fear not! You can still get that in the new Mirage, too, though minus the badging that tells thieves which car to hit in the Kroger parking lot.
Mitsubishi will reveal redesigned versions of the 2016 Outlander Sport crossover and 2017 Mirage subcompact at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show next week, the automaker announced Wednesday.
Both models will be mid-cycle refreshes, though the Mirage is expected to get more attention beyond a simple skin-deep rework.
The latest news means Mitsubishi’s rumored future crossover, expected to sit between the Outlander Sport and larger, three-row Outlander, won’t be making its debut in Los Angeles this year.
Speaking to Automotive News, Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko said that the automaker would add a small crossover to its North American lineup, between Outlander Sport and Outlander, to compete in the growing small crossover segment.
Masuko said the car would take styling cues from the company’s Tokyo Motor Show eX Concept, but it’s unclear how much of the concept’s electric powertrain will live into production.
Next year, Mitsubishi will sell a plug-in hybrid variant of the Outlander in the U.S.
Judging from the comments on my Beetle review, some of you clearly think I’m using this whole “shattered leg” thing as an excuse to just phone it in until I can obtain a prescription for Dilaudid and start writing the authentic Hunter S. Thompson psychedelia once again. Do not worry, my little kittens. Papa has heard your cries and I will do right by you in every particular. I have plenty of time to do so, since my injuries will keep me from having sex for at least four days, possibly five. Which for me is a long time, because as you know I like to get down whenever I can.
Let us begin thus: Yesterday, I was relaxing in pre-op, waiting for a bunch of screws made from the same material as my IWC Ingenieur Titanium to be placed in my second-favorite tibia, listening to “Last Train Home” from Metheny’s first “Brazilian” record, 1987’s Still Life Talking, when the young lady next to me said “Your phone’s buzzing. Maybe it’s important.” I recognized the number: a dedicated TTAC reader and occasional contributor with a definite fondness for Mitsubishis.
“I’d better take this,” I said, waving off the surgery team.
Mitsubishi announced Wednesday it would make available 1,600 “Final Edition” Lancer Evolution cars to commemorate the departure of the long-running sports sedan.
The cars will be based on Evolution GSR and include the same 2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 303 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission with all-wheel drive and will start at $37,995.
Mitsubishi will include numbered badges on the cars, a black roof, dark chrome wheels and how much are they asking again?
Mitsubishi will show off a crossover-sized electric vehicle at the Tokyo Motor Show this month that will preview what the automaker has planned for electric vehicles and, likely, elements of the next generation of its Outlander Sport.
The eX electric crossover is roughly the same size as the Outlander Sport currently on sale — the concept crossover is 167 inches long, compared to the Outlander Sport’s 169 inches.
According to the automaker, the EV has two electric motors with a combined output of 184 horsepower and a range of roughly 250 miles.
Mitsubishi is planning to end operations at its Normal, Illinois plant and notify workers at the end of September of their plans to close the facility after failing to find a buyer for the plant, Reuters (via Automotive News) reported.
It’s unclear what may happen to the 900 hourly workers who make Mitsubishi Outlanders if a buyer for the plant isn’t found by November. According to the report, last year the plant churned out nearly 70,000 crossovers.
Mitsubishi and the United Auto Workers union this month were negotiating a contract for the workers that would extend to the original closing date for the plant, which was slated for next spring.
A preconceived notion — or simply, a bias — forms easily when correlations exist to support it.
While the Japanese automaker has seen recent sales success, their newest nameplate — Mirage — has become the butt of many jokes and is often associated with a group of buyers one degree removed from the “Buy Here, Pay Here” crowd. Whether the Mirage deserves that reputation is another story.
The company’s largest model, the Outlander, recently received a refresh that is more than skin deep, but still not very dramatic. A new front fascia and revised rear sheet metal bring up the visual appeal a notch, and Mitsubishi does say numerous engineering changes have been employed on its latest and greatest crossover, but the crossover still houses the same, tired, premium fuel-drinking V-6 engine as always.
The recent news that Mitsubishi will shut down its manufacturing operations in Normal, Illinos, a plant that’s been open since 1988, also doesn’t help optics on the surface. And, unfortunately for the automaker, stories about sales gains just aren’t sexy enough to grab the attention of the average consumer.
Therefore, with all this bad news and bad press, you’d think the Outlander Sport (RVR in Canada) is just another zit on the face of the Japanese automaker.
But you’d be (mostly) wrong.
I am going to make a couple assumptions about Mitsubishi, our loyal TTAC readers, and where the two intersect.
For one, I don’t think a single person who comments or reads TTAC on a regular basis owns a Mitsubishi built after 1993. Also, I am going to make an educated guess that not a single Mirage owner reads automotive websites or blogs or any information source that offers proper opinions on Mitsubishi’s smallest of offerings.
Last — but certainly not least — I am going to point out there aren’t many people who read TTAC that care about Mitsubishi in the slightest. This, my friends, isn’t just a guess.
UPDATE: Mitsubishi has officially announced they will close the Normal, Ill. plant and are looking for a “strategic buyer.” This article was originally written a couple of hours before the announcement. Our Mitsubishi Doomsday Countdown starts right now, putting Mitsubishi’s Best-Before Date at Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
When Suzuki decided to stop building their last self-produced model in North America, the seven-seater XL7, in the midst of the U.S. economic crisis, it was just another nail in the coffin for that looked to be inevitable — the end of Suzuki sales in North America.
The CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada — a plant that still cranks out GM products to this day — was an integral part of Suzuki’s success and ultimate demise. Much like the Normal, Illinois Mitsubishi facility, the CAMI plant started as a joint venture between General Motors and its new Japanese BFF.
Mitsubishi’s plant in Normal, Ill. is set to shut its doors for good. That’s what Japan’s Nikkei news service is reporting today, though U.S. representatives for the company declined to comment.
The plant was opened by Diamond-Star Motors, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, in 1988 after two years of construction. It currently builds the Outlander Sport/RVR, but was tasked with manufacturing the Eclipse/Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon, Mirage/Eagle Summit, Galant, and coupe versions of the Dodge Avenger, Stratus and Chrysler Sebring during its lifetime.
With the Lexus IS finally ditching its dated and overripe 2.5L V6 in favor of the new Atkinson/Otto-cycle 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, the vehicle above will have the least powerful V6 engine in America: the 224 hp, 3.0L V6-powered Mitsubishi Outlander.
Making matters worse, it requires premium fuel … and that’s not the worst part.
To say that Mitsubishi has been struggling on the North American market would be an understatement. Long gone are the days of the capable Montero, hot-selling Galant, and the exotic 3000GT. For years the Outlander Sport has been the company’s bread winner and the Lancer Evolution its only icon. In order to jumpstart its sales, in 2014 Mitsubishi dove deep into the highest volume markets with the introduction of the inexpensive Mirage and the third generation of its three-row CUV, the Outlander.
TTAC reader James Federico sends us his take on life with a Mitsubishi Delica
“It’s a Mitsubishi Delica”
“Japan originally, but I bought it from a dealer in London”
“About 10 grand”
These are the first three sentences I speak any time I exit my van within twenty feet of another human being. There are other questions, depending on the age and interests of the person asking them:
“Do you go off road?”
“Is it hard to drive over there?”
“Is it hard to get parts?”
Priced at $40,538 in Canada, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT I drove around for a week in December was disturbingly overpriced.
In the United States, Outlanders start at $24,050. But the GT S-AWC starts at $29,045 with all-wheel-drive, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and a V6 engine in place of the 4-cylinder/CVT combo. A $6100 Touring package for buyers who want leather, sunroof, upgraded audio, a powered driver’s seat and tailgate, navigation, and a handful of active safety features takes the price up to $35,145.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV may not be coming to the United States until sometime between the autumn of 2015 and early 2016, but United Kingdom customers are already lining up at their local dealerships for a test drive of the SUV that can be had for the same price as its diesel sibling.
Deep within the comments of a recent luxury vehicle review, a familiar, satirical exchange takes place:
Googleplex: The pixel-density on the new touch system is passable, but LCD screens in cars in 2014 are laughable. Have these people even heard of AMOLED?
MauraudStar: Panther Love knows no touchscreens, my friend.
MoparMalaise: Panther Love knows no rich Corinthian leather, either.
VivaVega: We lost the war against fuel injection in the 1980’s, and I’m not about to give up the rest of my control to electronic nannies. Spare me your all-wheel drive, your dual-clutch transmissions and the 30 years of weight gain! Why can’t someone build a simple, functional car anymore?
Will any manufacturer answer VivaVega’s question? Enter the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage.
In a push to expand Southeast Asia sales, Mitsubishi has purchased a Ford assembly plant in Laguna, Philippines for an undisclosed amount.
A week ago, I asked the Best and Brightest for help in understanding my wife’s desire for a 7-seat vehicle. Uninhibited by the premise of the question, recommendations on what to buy poured in:
Several readers submitted well-formulated responses, but the volume of possibilities was dizzying. Mitsubishi may have had a similar problem when redesigning the 2014 Outlander.
In a sign of openness toward its customers, Mitsubishi will begin publishing real-world MPG figures for their entire lineup, beginning with the Outlander PHEV.
There are several vans that will not be among the finalists to replace the Kreutzer family’s ailing Ford Freestar and among them are the size and utility queens of the Japanese Domestic Market, the Toyota HI-Ace and the Mitsubishi Delica. Of course you already know that neither of these vans are sold here in the Land of the Free, so my attempt at including them in an article about my current search may seem a bit facetious but, the truth is, I know these vans well and they come up enough in the comments that I thought they might be worth discussing in more detail. Since I have become the resident “van guy” for the time being, let’s avail ourselves of the opportunity, shall we?
I review fairly few new cars, but when I head to the American Irony 24 Hours of LeMons race at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, I feel like I need to take on a country club sort of approach. That means I need the appropriate press car for an official at the race that feels like Caddy Day at the Bushwood Country Club pool. In 2011, I tried to get Chrysler to get me an Avenger R/T, because who wouldn’t want the fallback rental-car Dodge with 283 front-drive horsepower? Instead, I got the Challenger SRT8 392, which was fun but certainly no Avenger R/T. For the 2012 American Irony race, I decided that what I needed was the nice version of Mitsubishi’s contribution to the current rental-car gene pool: the Galant SE. What I got, thanks to Mitsubishi axing the Galant (though not cold blasting it) and generally acknowledging that the Evo is the only big Mitsubishi blip left on Americans’ car-awareness radar, was this white ’13 Evolution MR. Hey, that’s what I’ve got, that’s what I’ll review.
Styled to resemble an Outlander Sport
Reviewing a car a week, and dispatching the great majority as boring (if not in so few words), I begin to wonder whether I’m pursuing some fantastical ideal. Perhaps the concepts of communicative steering, a connection with the car, and a visceral driving experience are just something I have in my head? Can they actually exist in the real world? As the weeks roll on, one begins to have doubts. Then fate places a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR in the driveway.
A rear-wheel-drive four-door hatchback with staggered wheels and a mere 2,579 pounds distributed 45/55. From the folks who gave us the Evo. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? But the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (conversationally referred to as either the “i” OR the “meev”) isn’t that sort of car. Its focus is just as narrow as the Evo’s but could hardly be more different: the cheapest, most energy-efficient electric car you can buy in the United States. How cheap? The i-MiEV’s low-20s price (after a $7,500 tax credit) isn’t much higher than that of a Toyota Prius c, the cheapest, most energy-efficient hybrid.