Time to cut to the chase

Mirage, Lancer and Pa­jero get a hurry-up, start­ing with the price

The Advertiser - Motoring - - NEWS - NEIL DOWLING

MIT­SUBISHI has tar­geted its three slow­est sell­ers in a bid to turn around eight lack­lus­tre sales months.

The brand has chopped $1500 or 12 per cent off its en­try-level Mirage hatch, now $11,490 and with an ex­panded fea­ture list. Other mod­els have re­ceived sim­i­lar cuts.

The Mirage ES base model has up­graded sound in­su­la­tion, redesigned en­gine mounts, emer­gency flash­ing brake light, all-black cabin trim and a short antenna. The LS model adds stan­dard cruise con­trol and pri­vacy glass.

In the city car seg­ment, the Mirage is the top-seller, streets ahead of its seven ri­vals but only one — the Fiat 500 — has in­creased sales over last year.

Price and equip­ment changes may look like a fire sale but Mit­subishi Aus­tralia mar­ket­ing man­ager Tony Principe says it’s all on tar­get and he is “com­fort­able’’ with the sales fig­ures and cites poor sup­ply.

“The Mirage is built in Thai­land at the same plant that builds Tri­ton and Chal­lenger. Those light-com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles were in so much de­mand pro­duc­tion of the Mirage was cur­tailed,” he says.

“Aus­tralia didn’t get any Mi­rages from Fe­bru­ary this year and pro­duc­tion for us has only just restarted. We build the Lancer in a fac­tory that in Oc­to­ber last year started build­ing a mi­cro-car in a jointven­ture with Nis­san — it was so popular that much of the pro­duc­tion ef­forts were chan­nelled away from the Lancer. The re­sult was that we couldn’t get nor­mal stock.’’

In the small car seg­ment, Lancer sales are down by a quar­ter this year and it is sell­ing at a frac­tion of the Toy­ota Corolla and Mazda3, with which it once to share top billing. Lancer makes greater strides in equip­ment by adding door mir­rors with in­di­ca­tor lamps, emer­gency brake light and new door trims and has a price drop.

The Lancer range now starts at $18,990, down $1400, but even more sav­ings go to per­for­mance en­thu­si­asts with $7000 slashed from the Evo and the MR sedans, from $52,990.

The Lancer GSR Sport­back, in­tro­duced only in April, has al­ready taken a price cut of $1000 to $21,990.

Mit­subishi’s Pa­jero SUV, ex­pected to be re­placed in 2016, is down to three mod­els. The cheap­est GLX model stays at $50,990 but there is a $5000 cut to the GLS (now $58,990) and $8000 off the Ex­ceed ( $73,900).

Up­grades for Pa­jero in­clude small in­te­rior and ex­te­rior cos­metic up­dates and an up­graded noise, vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness (NVH) pack­age.

Down the hatch: Mirage now starts at $11,490

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