Micro cars are returning to the U.S. in record numbers, as automakers are finding that people will buy them if they’re not the bargain-bin junk they used to be. Starting with cars like the Chevrolet Spark, Fiat 500, and Scion iQ, automakers have since opened up the market for the vehicles that were once considered unsellable.
Mitsubishi will be following suit starting next year with the inception of the Mirage compact car, per its announcement this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Mitsubishi, which has had a dearth of new product launches in recent years, said its new subcompact would be making its U.S. debut in the spring, likely at the New York Auto Show, and it will go on sale in September 2013 as a 2014 model.
Overseas, the Mitsubishi Mirage is powered by a choice of either a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine with 68 horsepower or an optional 1.2-liter three-cylinder with 77 horsepower. By comparison, the Chevrolet Spark makes 84 horsepower from its 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine. The Chevy has far outsold initial expectations in its short time on sale in the U.S. thus far, which could prove beneficial for an optimistic Mitsubishi hedging its bets on a micro car.
This week, Mitsubishi announced a $100 million investment in the U.S., reaffirming its commitment to the U.S. In addition, it brought its 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander midsize crossover to Los Angeles in addition to a new special edition Outlander Sport.
With two all-new products in the Outlander and Mirage, Mitsubishi looks to expand its range of core products and will hopefully pull itself from the sort of doldrums that forced rival Suzuki to exit from the U.S. this past month. We can only hope Mitsubishi’s product offensive proves successful; it’d be a shame if cars like the absolutely awesome Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution were to leave our showrooms.