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Mitsubishi Lands New Outlander

Maker insists it’s committed to U.S. market.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Mitsubishi delivers a completely redesigned 3-row Outlander CUV.

You know a manufacturer is having trouble when it begins a news conference not with the unveiling of a new product but with a promise that it isn’t about to leave the market. But few were surprised by the approach taken when Mitsubishi’s U.S. chief executive opened things up at the LA Auto Show this week.

The Japanese maker has had some serious problems in recent years.  A flawed strategy aimed at bringing in young, first-time buyers backfired, running up $100s of millions in losses. And a number of recent products flopped, notably including the now-abandoned Eclipse sports coupe. In fact, Mitsubishi is all but starting over, walking away from a number of once-popular nameplates.

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Its problems were serious enough that only a major bailout kept the Japanese parent alive, in fact. Now, with Suzuki announcing plans to abandon the U.S. after years of crumbling sales, the spotlight is on Mitsubishi, many analysts predicting it could be next to give up on the market.

Not so fast, proclaimed CEO Yoichi Yokazawa, telling a crowd of journalists, “Mitsubishi is as committed to North America as ever,” before unveiling several products intended to help it regain some positive momentum.


Smart to Offer Market’s Lowest-Priced EV

Compact size, compact price.

by on Oct.05, 2012

Smart adds a bigger battery to boost range and performance with the 2013 fortwo ED.

Why aren’t consumers getting charged up about battery cars? That’s the question a lot of folks have been asking as sales lag well behind earlier expectations.

Range is clearly a concern, motorists worrying about being able to go – with most models – less than 100 miles per charge. But the big issue appears to be price. Electric vehicles simply carry too steep a premium for many potential buyers.

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That’s something little Smart hopes to address when it introduces what it is billing as the lowest-priced battery vehicle coming to the U.S. market from a major manufacturer. The 2013 Smart fortwo ED – short for Electric Drive – will carry a base price of just $25,780. (Not including a $750 delivery charge.)


Mitsubishi Previews Plug-In Outlander

Battery-SUV slated for Paris debut.

by on Sep.06, 2012

Mitsubishi's new Outlander PHEV will use separate front and rear motors for its all-wheel-drive system.

Mitsubishi is doubling down its bet on battery power.

The struggling Japanese maker has been hoping to gain some traction with a push towards alternative propulsion that began with last year’s launch of the little i-MiEV electric vehicle.  The next entrant into the battery line-up is a lithium-powered plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander.

Based on the new Outlander that was introduced earlier this summer, it will be the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV, Mitsubishi notes, and will make its public debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.

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The maker claims it offers “the best of three worlds.”  That translates into an environmentally friendly drivetrain, especially when running on battery power, the cruising range of a conventional gas-powered vehicle, and the off-road capabilities of an SUV.


Mitsubishi to Reveal Outlander Plug-in at Paris

Will feature permanent all-wheel-drive.

by on Jun.19, 2012

Mitsubishi will pull the wraps off a plug-in hybrid version of its next-gen Outlander CUV.

Mitsubishi plans to reveal its second battery car at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, a plug-in version of its Outlander crossover-utility vehicle.

The struggling Japanese maker only recently launched its i-MiEV battery-electric vehicle and appears to be betting that battery power is the key to improving its fortunes.

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“Neither a mere adaptation of an existing Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) – powered vehicle, nor a dedicated Plug-in Hybrid technology showcase, the New Outlander Plug-in Hybrid EV (or “PHEV”) will share its architecture with the soon-to-be-introduced New Outlander’s ICE versions – an engineering feat in itself,” the maker said in a teaser news release.

A preliminary sketch for the customized Mitsubishi i-MiEV racer targeting Pike's Peak..


Honda Fit EV Gets Best-Ever 118 MPGe Rating

Limited roll-out scheduled for coming summer.

by on Jun.06, 2012

The 2013 Honda Fit EV wins the EPA's highest mileage-equivalency rating yet, at 118 MPGe.

The new Honda Fiat EV has landed a 118 MPGe federal fuel economy rating, the highest ever granted by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Scheduled to go into limited distribution over the summer the 2013 Fit EV is Honda’s first battery-electric vehicle in two decades and enters a fast-emerging market segment that will soon include offerings from most of the major automakers – as well as new start-ups like California’s Tesla Motors.

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The EPA’s Combined 118 MPGe rating shoots Honda past the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, at 112 MPGe, the Ford Focus Electric, at 105 MPGe, and the Nissan Leaf, rated at 99 MPGe.


Mitsubishi’s Evo Could Be Gone by 2014

Automaker plans to turn over entire lineup to focus on high-efficiency vehicles.

by on Mar.03, 2011

Under Mitsubishi's current product plan the vaunted Evo X could go away by 2014.

What would Mitsubishi be like without its best car, the Lancer Evolution X? Looks like we might get a chance to find out.

According to a report in British car magazine Autocar, Mitsubishi’s future product plans do not include an 11th generation of the niche rally racer, meaning the ultimate pocket rocket could be gone by 2014. Instead Mitsubishi is focusing on building fuel efficient vehicles, particularly electric cars.

The Evo has become a cult classic, a boy-racer rocket living in the body of a budget economy car. The Evo may have a bargain-basement interior, but the bits underneath are what counts.

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With a turbocharged 292-horsepower four cylinder and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive sytem, the Evo is the perfect tool for carving up everything from a loose gravel road to kinky tarmac.

Mitsubishi Goes Electric

Maker charges into L.A. with plans for battery cars.

by on Dec.03, 2009

Smaller Japanese makers are focusing on pure battery power. Mitsubishi plans to bring a version of its new i-MIEV battery-electric vehicle to the U.S.

Smaller Japanese makers are focusing on pure battery power. Mitsubishi plans to bring a version of its new i-MIEV battery-electric vehicle to the U.S.

In Japan, smaller automakers, such as Subaru and Mitsubishi and even Nissan, are moving towards pure electric vehicles as way to offset the overwhelming edge Toyota and Honda hold in hybrid vehicles.

Mitsubishi, which has been known primarily for small, sporty cars, announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show that it will begin selling an electric vehicle in the U.S. beginning in 2011.

Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko said we’ll soon see a version of the i-MiEV, on display at L.A.’s Staples Center, “which we put on sale this past summer in Japan.”  Mitsubishi has delivered approximately 800 of these innovative vehicles, he added. In fact, the raw numbers make Mitsubishi the leader in Japanese EV deliveries.

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“In the North American market, attention has focused on the EV as awareness of the environment grows,” he said. “The i-MiEV was originally designed to help explore an avenue towards sustainability. The vehicle’s size, an innovative packaging makes it especially ideal throughout Asia and Europe.”