Mitsubishi may have been off the radar in terms of new cars recently, with no new offerings since the Pajero Sport SUV, but that is soon to change. Mitsubishi’s executive officer and corporate general manager Asia and ASEAN office Ken Horinouchi revealed that the company is working on a new model strategy that will see five new models go on sale in India by 2016. The cars will, at least initially, be imported from ASEAN markets, although assembly at the HM’s Chennai facility is likely at a later stage.
While exact details and launch dates weren’t confirmed, one of the cars that has been confirmed for launch is the Mirage hatchback. While the ‘Mirage’ name was previously used for the Lancer sedan and coupé in certain markets, it now refers to the company’s new compact hatchback. A rival to the likes of the Celerio and the i10, the Mirage is powered by a 77bhp, 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine in the ASEAN markets in which it is already on sale. Apart from a manual gearbox, it also gets a CVT automatic option.
Pegged to follow the Mirage, if the hatchback "is a strong contender in India" according to Horinouchi, is its sedan counterpart, the Attrage. This car uses the same powertrain as the hatchback, and although it’s quite compact, the length of the ASEAN model is just a shade over 4.2 metres long. This means that it doesn’t qualify for India’s small car tax benefits, and so it will be interesting to see if the carmaker finds a way to shave off the excess 245mm.
Despite this, Mitsubishi acknowledges that its SUVs are what it is best known for, and so they will feature prominently in this new model strategy. "Market-wise, emerging markets, including India, are our first priority; Product-wise, we are going to put more SUVs in such markets," says Horinouchi.
The company will bring two new SUVs from its existing portfolio to India by 2016, and a big contender here is the new-generation Outlander. However, a big hurdle for the company is the import duty. While dealers are demanding a diesel version of the Outlander SUV, because it would have to be brought in as a CBU, the cost is proving to be too high.