Mitsubishi Isn’t Giving up on Passenger Cars
The automotive landscape is an ever-changing one as consumer tastes and trends shift over the years. Case in point, the U.S. automotive market has been leaning towards crossovers and SUVs for a little over a decade now. When automakers and manufacturers are often asked about their future products, they find themselves caught in the crosshairs of what’s become an inevitable question: “Will you be shifting your resources from the innovation and production of sedans and small cars toward crossovers and SUVs instead? Mitsubishi is no exception to this, as the brand finds itself at the very same crossroads. In fact, the automaker ceased production of its classic Eclipse model and reinvented it as a crossover, the Eclipse Cross, that launched in late 2017.
While that choice to transform the Eclipse might’ve come as a bummer to Mitsubishi enthusiasts, the effect was undoubtedly compounded when the automaker announced they’d be discontinuing their other very popular model: the Lancer. But not all hope is lost as the brand appears to be recommitted to manufacturing new and improved versions of their Mirage and Lancer models. Sorry Eclipse fans, the Eclipse Cross is here to stay (for now).
Mitsubishi corporate vice-president of product strategy, Vincent Cobee, preempted these catch-22 future-of-automobiles questions in a recent interview with Goauto.com.au by saying “I know all of you guys write about the growth and emergence of SUVs and it’s correct, it’s 35-37 percent of the total market today and it’s still growing. But, that doesn’t eradicate the fact that there will be 40-50 million cars that will be traditional passenger cars.” It’s clear from Cobee’s statement that the brand is aware of the market trends, but it’s also evident that Mitsubishi is aiming to deliver traditional passenger cars to the market as well.
From what we know so far, a successor to the Mirage, which initially debuted in 2012, is currently in the very early stages of development. Also, since Mitsubishi joined the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 2016, the Japanese automaker will have access to the Alliance’s modular architecture concept that includes the main platform/manufacturing system, the Common Module Family-B (CMF-B). Aimed at reducing manufacturing costs and innovated as a way to compete with similar previous concepts by other automakers, the CMF-B platform consists of five different groups of interchangeable, compatible modules: rear underbody, front underbody, electrical/electronic, cockpit, and engine bay. The Alliance thinks of the CMF-B as more of a manufacturing system, rather than a conventional platform to base a vehicle on.
The Mirage in the works is expected to ride on the CMF-B platform, while the comeback kid, the Lancer, will likely be based on the Alliance’s larger CMF-C platform. Entry level cars, such as the Mirage and the Lancer, offers young, new potential customers a way to buy into the brand and grow with the automaker. Passenger cars have the ability to set the stage for brand loyalty, with consumers upgrading to bigger and newer vehicles as they progress through life.
While we mentioned earlier that some Mitsubishi enthusiasts may still be a little miffed about the brand’s switch on the classic Eclipse moniker, the brand has nothing to worry about. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was just awarded the “RJC Car of the Year 2019” by the Automotive Researchers’ & Journalists’ Conference of Japan. Japanese researchers and journalists lauded the Eclipse Cross for its fusion of compact SUV and sharp coupe styles, high rough road performance, well-balanced dynamics, and its 1.5-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine.
Experience the Eclipse Cross for yourself, check out our latest inventory and schedule a test drive today! Follow University Mitsubishi on social media for the latest Lancer and Mirage updates as development progresses.