First of all, Happy New Year.
I just stumbled on the news, that the folks at Mitsubishi Japan will discontinue one of the most honest globally available mainstream vehicles in the World, the A-Segment Sub-Compact Mitsubishi Mirage.
Well, don’t panic everyone as this news only applies to the JDM (Japanese Domestic) Market. So far, there is no news announced at the time of this writing that the Mirage will be discontinued in specific markets like North America & Southeast Asia.
In the US, vehicles like these are on threat of extinction given to its huge popularity of Crossover Vehicles (ie. CUVs). While in S.E. Asia, although CUVs are a growing trend, sub-compact cars are still the majority as income levels and access within these countries are far more different. Regardless, the Mirage may be a key factor for the survival of the brand even if its awesome glory days are far past them.
But the problem, in my opinion especially in the US market is that Mitsubishi is a dead brand by now, as Lancia is to Europe.
But what does Mitsu has to offer in the US now!?
– A rebadge ICE (internal combustion engine) & PHEV-version (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) of the Nissan Rouge!? (Outlander)
– A zombie badged CUV Coupe? (Eclipse Cross)
– A uncompetitive compact CUV? (Outlander Sport/ASX/RVR)
What Mitsu needs to do is to be a niche of its own, and be a budget-friendly brand!
– Keep the Mirage, it is the last honest vehicle in the US when the Chevy Spark departs. Plus offer a model that will tickle the enthusiasts!
– Import the ugly Xpander MPV wagon and the wannabe CUV Xpander Cross, it would be a perfect budget wannabe wagon in the world of overpriced CUVs.
– The L200/Triton/Strada would be a perfect pickup truck to undercut the usual SUV-like pickups (Colorado/Frontier/Tacoma) and market it as “what pickups used to be.” Hell, offer a regular cab with an 8-foot (243.84cm) bed, since when has a compact/mid-sized pickup offered that in North America!?
– Then offer the Montero Sport, but priced it $5-15k less than the 4Runner! People from the Overlanding crowd will flock it like rabid dogs!
– And lastly, offer a TRUE FLAGSHIP!!! The Delica D:5, need I say more about this amazing 4WD minivan!?
– If Mitsu is truly ambitious, bring in some Kei vehicles!!! Even on a limited-order basis!
Other than that, Mitsubishi just needs to withdraw from US operations…