Two things are happening in places where Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) has presence: A sharp rise in demand for small cars is being observed in emerging markets while demand for vehicles with big-displacement engines has slowed down in advanced economies as consumers become more conscious on how eco-friendly the vehicles they will buy.
To deal with these two conflicting developments, MMC a few years ago, devised a strategy called “global small” that refers to the development of a new generation of small cars that can be sold around the world.
“Fuel efficiency is now our global focus. Expect us to come up with models that will be regarded as one of the most fuel-efficient non-hybrids one could buy,” promised MMC president Osamu Masuko in December 2010 when he led the foundation laying ceremony for a third factory that will be built inside Mitsubishi Motors Thailand’s (MMTh) manufacturing facility in Laem Chabang Industrial Estate in Chonburi province (the MMC’s production base in the Asean region is about 100 kilometers southeast of Bangkok).
In charge of assembling all “global small” vehicle models that will be exported around the world, the 32-hectare third factory finally rolled out in April 2012 its first model, the all-new
The five-door, five-passenger hatchback was an instant worldwide success, thank to its 77 horsepower, 1.2-liter in-line three-cylinder Mivec gasoline engine could deliver an average 19 kpl consumption (for the manual variant).
Its price tag—from P498,000 to P638,000 here—is another deal breaker.
Sedan version coming
However, those who are not so enamored with hatchback configuration should be glad to know that the third factory is currently assembling the sedan version of the model, which will be known in the Philippines as the Mirage G4 (short for “global 4-door”).
During last week’s tour of the third factory, Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp. (MMPC) explained to invited motoring journalists that the upcoming second “global small” model is not merely an all-new Mirage with a boot grafted on.
While both have identical engine and power output as well as the same choices of either CVT or a five-speed manual transmission, the wheelbase of the Mir age G4 is longer by 10 cm (at 250 cm). It’s also wider by 0.5 cm (at 167 cm), taller by 1.5 cm (at 1,515 cm) and of course, longer by 53.5 cm (at 4,245 cm) as the Mirage G4 provides an additional 215 L of trunk space when compared to the all-new Mirage’s 235-liter rear compartment.
Despite having a bigger body, the Mirage G4 is just 40 kg heavier than the 890 kg all-new Mirage.
Turning circle of the Mirage G4 is 4.8 m, which is slightly wider than the hatchback’s 4.6 m.
“These figures enable the Mirage G4 to provide a more spacious seating for five and different driving feel as observed by the participants during the exclusive ride and drive event held at
the Bonanza International Speedway in Nakhon Ratchasima province (located 260 kilometers northeast of Bangkok),” said MMPC VP for marketing services Froy Dytianquin who informed that the sedan is expected to reach our shores in the last quarter of the year.
In fact, the third factory is now busy completing the first batch of the Mirage G4 with about 7,350 units allotted for export to the Asean market alone (exact number for the Philippines, the only left-hand drive market in the region, was not revealed).
Some 56,000 units of the Mirage G4 are expected to be delivered in MMC’s various markets around the world. “Of the 161,000 units the third factory will produce, 35 percent will be devoted to Mirage G4,” added MMC Asia & Asean Office deputy corporate GM Ryujiro Kobashi.