Makeover no illusion
We slated it on a preview drive. Now Mitsubishi promises a better Mirage
‘‘ This is our lifeline,’’ new boss of Mitsubishi Motors Australia Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, tells Carsguide. ‘‘ This is the starting point. A really important car. We cannot fail.’’
Oshikiri is trying to rebuild Mitsubishi, which has been unloved since the company withdrew from local manufacturing in Adelaide.
The Mirage will start well under $15,000 and have fuel economy better than 5.0L/100km. It weighs less than 850kg and has a tiny 1.2-litre, three-cylinder engine.
A press posse savaged it during a preview drive in Thailand, where it is built.
That has led to promises of improvements for Australia. ‘‘ We have listened. We understand,’’ says Oshikiri.
The car’s underwhelming, constantly variable transmission is being tweaked to make it more lively although there is nothing that can be done in the short term about the cost-down development work that’s produced a relatively humble car suited to Asian budget buyers.
Mitsubishi is working on a youth-focused campaign for the Mirage to regenerate the sort of support the car had when it was a three-door version of the Lancer.
This time around, it’s the first all-new model from Mitsubishi after the global financial crisis and it no longer has any ties to the Lancer.
‘‘ In two years, three years, comes the new Lancer. Outlander comes first, then the new Lancer.
‘‘ The lifecycle is longer than normal. This is not fatal but transient,’’ says Oshikiri.
Still, he admits the line-up is too old and lacks true hero cars.
‘‘ The product is old and the prices are too high,’’ he says.
But he promises an aggressive program to rebuild Mitsubishi, putting customers first and also focusing on support for dealers.
‘‘ Mitsubishi is too much an engineering company. Now we return to a marketing company. This is what I’mthinking.’’