Mitsubishi may be on the verge of a global product offensive, but details of the company’s new small car, along with future U.S.-built products, have recently began to leak.
Let’s start with that small hatchback. Mitsubishi teased the new B-segment offering earlier this year, when it unveiled sketches of what it dubbed the New Global Small back in December. The company just announced, however, that the car will be shown in concept form (pictured) at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March.
Few finite details have been announced to date, but Mitsubishi officials have confirmed to us that the NGS will, in fact, be sold in North America, where it will compete against the Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Chevrolet Sonic, and the forthcoming Hyundai Accent hatchback. Mitsubishi’s offering, however, may prove to be on the smaller side of that segment. In other markets, the car will be fitted with 1.0- and 1.2-liter I-4 engines and a CVT, both engineered to provide maximum efficiency. Mitsu, in fact, says these features, along with regenerative braking, will help yield best-in-class fuel economy.
Mitsubishi expects on launching the new subcompact in North America by 2013, but the car won’t be built on the continent. That said, the automaker is finalizing plans as to what vehicles it will build within its U.S. assembly plant in Normal, Illinois. Automotive News suggests a family of vehicles based upon the GM platform used for the Lancer, Outlander, and Outlander Sport, will be produced at the plant. A Mitsubishi spokesman confirmed that the new U.S.-built vehicles will be built on the GM platform and suggested an SUV or crossover-like vehicle would be the most logical possibility. However, he did note there is the possibility of building other variants -- excepting, of course, the niche Lancer Evolution -- at the Illinois site.
Mitsubishi is expected to finalize its U.S. production plans on January 20th, but for now, things remain up in the air. If AN’s source is on the money, expect production to begin roughly two years after the Galant, Endeavor, and Eclipse -- all currently built in Normal -- are phased out of production.
Source: Mitsubishi, Automotive News (Subscription required)