Mitsubishi –

The success or failure of a car is greatly influenced by its name. Cars are not all about engines, gearboxes, gadgets, safety features and the rest of the lot. Marketing plays an important role in this industry and by naming a car LaPuta (“the whore” in Spanish) like Mazda did, no wonder that it was an epic failure for the Japanese automaker.

10. Subaru Brat

Manufactured between 1978 and 1987, the Subaru Brat is not only a car with an ugly name, but it also has one of the most awful designs we’ve seen from Subie. Brat stands for “bi-drive recreational all-terrain transporter.” Think of the car as a Japanese version of the El Camino. Despite its awful name, the car was pretty good thanks to its all-wheel drive capabilities. But let’s face it; wouldn’t you be embarrassed if someone asked you what car you drive?

09. Oldsmobile Intrigue

Oldsmobile launched the Intrigue in 1998 and discontinued it four years later. It was a front-wheel drive mid-size sedan, but there was nothing intriguing about it. It was developed for passionless and boring people, featuring a very dull design, making it perfect for a rental car and we all know that rental cars are anything but intriguing.

08. Dodge Swinger

The Dodge Swinger was launched in ’69 (obviously) so we have to understand the automaker for giving the car this name. Aside from its rather embarrassing name, the car was pretty awful. It was in fact a two-door version of the Dodge Dart, another automotive “masterpiece”.

07. Renault LeCar

The North American version of the Renault 5 was called “LeCar”. I don’t understand why the French automaker decided to change the car’s name when it took it stateside. Nothing is wrong with an alphanumeric car name and you’ll rarely see one in top 10s like this one. Even worse than that are the oversized “Le Car” decals on the doors.

06. Daihatsu Charade

It really was a charade with its cheap looks, uncompetitive price. No wonder they sold only a few units between 1988 and 1992, despite being under the guidance of Toyota.

05. Buick LaCrosse

If you didn’t know, “LaCrosse” is a unique French word that means “a teenage masturbator”. Maybe they meant to say “la crosse” rather than “lacrosse”. No wonder Buick sold only a couple of units in French-speaking Quebec. In addition, this also can be translated “to trick someone”, yet another unfortunate meaning.

04. Mitsubishi Pajero

“Pajero” is a Spanish slang for the word “wanker”. However, Mitsubishi was clever enough to give the car a different name when it brought it in Spain as they named it “Montero”.  However, there are lots of Spanish-speaking drivers that own a wanker which is pretty funny if you think about it.

03. Nissan Moco

Nissan made a very good decision not to bring the car in Spain as it would have been an embarrassing thing to do, taking into consideration that “moco” there means snot or booger. Luckily, Nissan sold the car only in Japan.

02. Mazda LaPuta

We mentioned this one in the first paragraph so it “deserves” its own place in the top. It was a great little car, excellent for city driving. Mazda launched it in 1999 and manufactured it for seven years, the model being discontinued in 2006. The company chose this name after Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. However, “la puta” in Spanish means prostitute.

01. Ford Probe

Back in the 1980s, Ford was about to transform its iconic Mustang in a V8-free, FWD model, co-developed with Mazda. They changed their mind after fans of the pony car got angry at the prospect of a car totally different from what they were used to. However, Ford released a model that at first they wanted to be the new Mustang. It did not take very long after the car was launched to think of the word “probe” and its multitude of connotations, including the embarrassing one of course.

Post tags: Tags: top 10, top 10 worst car names

Mitsubishi Eclipse SE

The original Mitsubishi Eclipse was launched back in 1989 and its 4th generation went into production in 2006. The Japanese automaker is preparing to say goodbye to its Eclipse model with a SE Special Edition series. All of the trim levels (GS, GS Sport and GT) are going to be available as a special edition version, featuring 18-inch dark finish alloy rims, black side mirrors, along with the standard features that you would normally find on the GS Sport versions for both the coupe and the convertible models.

Mitsubishi Eclipse SE

As standard, you get leather upholstery with heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat, along with heated side mirrors, rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a powerful 9-speaker / 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system with SIRIUS satellite radio. In addition, the coupe version also packs a sunroof.

Mitsubishi Eclipse SE

The Eclipse Special Edition is going to be available with a choice of two engines: a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder 2.4-liter that outputs 162 hp, available for the GS/GS Sport models, and a more powerful V6 3.8-liter engine that produces 265 hp, for the GT model, which is going to be linked to a 5-speed Sportronic automatic gearbox, allowing the driver to change the gears manually when he wants to. The Eclipse GT SE will also get an automatic climate control system.

Mitsubishi Eclipse SE

Source: Mitsubishi via Carscoop

Post tags: Tags: mitsubishi eclipse, special-edition

Mitsubishi i EV

Pretty soon U.S. citizens will have a cheaper alternative to the Nissan Leaf in the form of the Mitsubishi i EV. This week during the New York Auto Show, the Japanese automaker said that the car will hit the dealerships in November this year, at a base price of $20,490 for the entry-level ES model and $22,490 for the better-equipped ES version. These prices include the government subsidies ($7,500).

Mitsubishi i EV

This means that the Mitsubishi i EV is going to be the cheapest 100% mass-production electric vehicle in North America, almost $5,000 more affordable than the Nissan Leaf, but keep in mind that the latter is a compact model, while the i EV belongs to the sub-compact segment.

Mitsubishi i EV

The car is powered by the company’s MiEV technology and its rear wheels are driven by a 66 hp synchronous electric motor, along with a 330V lithium-ion battery that is capable of storing up to 16 kWh. It also sports a single fixed reduction gear transmission and the electric motor offers a peak torque of 145 lb.-ft, good enough for a top speed of 80 mph (129 km/h).

Mitsubishi i EV

With the batteries full, the car can be driven for up to 85 miles (137 km) and to fill up these batteries you’ll have to wait 6 hours when using a 240V/15A Level 2 home EVSE Eaton charging station and 22 and a half hours from your conventional household outlet. The good news is that you can fill up the batteries to 80% of their level in just 30 minutes at a public quick-charging station, if there is one where you live. The battery pack has an 8-year / 100,000 miles warranty.

Mitsubishi i EV

The base model comes as standard with power windows and mirrors, AC, a 4-speaker 100-watt audio system, along with the MiEV remote system that allows the battery pack to be charged via timer and also you will be able to pre-activate the heater or the AC.

Mitsubishi i EV

Source: Mitsubishi via Carscoop

Post tags: Tags: Green, mitsubishi i ev

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ400

More info about the Evo’s future has been revealed this week. This time, the Japanese automaker confirmed that there will be an Evo XI, but it will not be “advancing the concept in the same way as before.” This is both good and bad news. Good because we now know for certain that there is going to be a successor to the Evo X, and bad because it will probably be an entire different car, not following the Evo breed as the rest of the generations.

Post tags: Tags: mitsubishi evo xi

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ400

At the beginning of this month, certain rumors regarding the discontinuation of the Evo X surfaced the Internet and now the Japanese automaker Mitsubishi is doing some damage control. The company’s UK subsidiary has put out a press release in which they’ve announced that the price for the Evo X will be reduced; making sure that the current generation of the model is still present in the market. After the current series is phased out in 2012/2013, the new model will have to undergo some significant changes.

This press release was put out in order to give a boost to the Evo X, but at the same time it doesn’t say anything about its future, only that it will still be around in some form. Most likely, some hybrid versions will be introduced, while at the same time, some of the high-octane variants will be discontinued.

As a reminder, the current Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X is a 4-door rally car with street-legal specifications and is being made in Japan. The car has an S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) all-wheel drive system and the engine is mated to a dual-clutch gearbox – (TC-SST) Twin Clutch Sports Shift Transmission.

Since the introduction of the Evolution series in 2000, Mitsubishi has managed to sell more than 6,000 units. The FQ-300 SST is the base model and offers 300 hp (304 PS / 224 kw), all for a starting price of $47,700 (UK market).

Source: Mitsubishi via WCF

Post tags: Tags: mitsubishi evo x

Yoichi Yokozawa

The Japanese automaker Mitsubishi announced this week that the North American operations will be helmed by Yoichi Yokozawa. Up until now he was the vice president of the company and as of April 1st, he will replace Shinichi Kurihara as the company’s CEO. The latter said that he will return to the Mitsubishi mothership, although it is uncertain what position he will occupy once he returns to Japan.

Yokozawa joined Mitsubishi 13 years ago when he came on board the automaker’s European HQ in order to help oversee the company’s financial planning on the old continent. Starting with 2006, the executive has been responsible for guiding the company through NAFTA interests as the corporate general in the Mitsubishi overseas business management office. Sources at the company said that Yokozawa has worked with Mitsubishi on many levels, from financial, alliance to merger and other business projects.

Source: Mitsubishi

Post tags: Tags: Mitsubishi, News

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ

At the beginning of last week, one of Mitsubishi’s senior executives said that the Evolution X will be the last Evo ever made. After this announcement, there were many complaints coming from consumers. To respond to this negative feedback, the company sent an e-mail to Inside Line, explaining that the production of the current Evo will end in 2012/2013.

However, this doesn’t mean that the Evo is dead as the Japanese automaker plans on launching the 11th generation with a hybrid powertrain, or at least that is what that e-mail seems to imply. We can’t tell you more than that, but taking into consideration that the automaker showcased back in 2005 a Lancer Evolution MIEV, we can only assume that it will be a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid. That car had a lithium-ion battery and four electric motors that produced a combined power of 268 hp (272 PS / 200 kW) and 1.528 lb.-ft (2.072 Nm) of torque. This concept allowed the car to have a driving range of up to 155 miles (250 km) and hit a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h).

I think that they will make a very big mistake if they plan on launching a new Evo that will be only available with a hybrid powertrain. The conventional-powered engines are not dead yet, so a powerful gasoline engine like the one in the Evo X will still be desirable among customers. Very few people will by a hybrid-powered EVO, at least this is what I think.

What would you prefer?

Source: Inside Line

Post tags: Tags: Green, mitsubishi evo

Mitsubishi Concept-Global Small

One of the many concepts revealed yesterday at Geneva is Mitsubishi’s new Concept-Global Small that is the preview of the upcoming model that will replace the Colt supermini. The company said that the production model will be revealed at the end of 2011 and production will commence in early 2012 at a new factory that is currently under construction in Thailand – the automaker’s third factory in this region.

Mitsubishi Concept-Global Small

The new B-segment car will be proposed as an entry-level model for emerging markets as well as a fuel-efficient car in the developed markets. They didn’t mention much else about the Concept-Global Small, except for the fact that the engines available will include 1.0-liter to 1.2-liter units, and depending upon the market, some versions will be fitted with the start-stop technology and regenerative braking system, along with a new generation of the CVT and low-rolling resistance rubber.

Post tags: Tags: 2011 geneva motor show, mitsubishi concept-global small

It was bound to happen sooner or later; Euro NCAP tested the first plug-in EV. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is only the first of a series of EV crash-tests planned for 2011. Along with the i-MiEV, the European safety institute also tested other five conventional cars: the Nissan Juke, Mitsubishi ASX, Hyundai ix20, BMW X1 and the Dacia Duster.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV managed to obtain an overall four star rating, just like its siblings – the Peugeot iOn and the Citroen C-Zero; all of them have the same design and safety equipment. Euro NCAP judged this result as “creditable.”

This EV was put to just about the same tests as a conventional car. Euro NCAP gave special attention to the car’s battery integrity after the moment of the crash and the functioning of the battery cut-off switch that isolates the high-voltage battery in the event of an accident. The good news is that no fire or electrical hazards were detected while testing the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

[youtube width=”470″ height=”344″][/youtube]

As we mentioned before, other cars were tested and all of them got a five star rating, except for the Dacia Duster, a Romanian SUV. The car got only three stars mainly because it scored only 28% in pedestrian protection and 29% for safety assist. Despite these low ratings, the Duster offers more protection to adult passengers than the Mitsubishi (74% vs. 73%), and the child protection was at the same level – 78%.

Source: Euro NCAP

Post tags: Tags: crash-test, euro-ncap, mitsubishi i-miev

Vilner and OverDrive 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

If you haven’t heard of Vilner, it is a Bulgarian tuning firm and their recent project is based on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. They’ve decked the interior of the car with black leather upholstery to match the white colored accents and stitching. Black Alcantara was used for the roof lining and the steering wheel along with the gear leaver has a carbon trim.

Vilner and OverDrive 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

The Evo X also got front bucket seats with a piano black decorative trim. For the outside, they’ve installed new LED lights on the car’s tail lights and headlamps. Carbon elements were used here and there to go along with the new Greddy exhaust system, the new set of 18-inch Weds Sports rims and the adjustable K-sport suspension.

Vilner and OverDrive 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

No tuning program is complete without a little bit of power upgrade. Vilner installed an Overdrive power kit that raises the output of the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to 400 hp.

Vilner and OverDrive 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

Source: TopSpeed

Post tags: Tags: mitsubishi evo x, overdrive, Tuning, vilner

Welcome back to the third and final part of our extensive article about the most important cars that will delight us at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Let’s start with Land Rover and their Range Rover Evoque.

2012 Land Rover Evoque

The car will be available in 2-door and 4-door variants, both of them featuring the same engine, which will be a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged that outputs 240 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Evoque will come with an all-wheel drive system as well as the company’s new Terrain Response System.

2011 Lexus CT 200h

One of my personal favorites, Lexus, will bring the CT 200h which is a 4-door / 5-passenger hybrid hatchback, featuring a conventional 4-cylinder 1.8-liter gasoline engine and a battery-powered electric motor, both of them offering a combined power of 134 hp. The new C200h will use a CVT – Continuously Variable Transmission and can run on one or both of the power sources (without having to charge it).

2012 Mercedes SLK

Mercedes will be heading out to Chicago where they will have three new production models: the beautiful 2012 SLK, the 2012 CLS and the 2012 C-Class. We’ve talked about the SLK on before; it will be available in two variants: the SLK250 and the SLK350. The entry-level model will be fitted with a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter that outputs 201 hp, linked to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic gearbox. The SLK350 is going to have a more powerful V6 3.5-liter engine, good for 302 hp. This model will be available with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

The CLS will be available in two models: CLS550 and the AMG CLS63. The first one has a V8 4.7-liter turbocharged engine that outputs 402 hp while the other comes with a V8 5.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 518 hp. The CLS550 has a 7-speed automatic gearbox while the CLS630 AMG will get a 7-speed automated manual gearbox.

The 2012 C250 will be offered in two trim levels: Luxury and Sport, both of them featuring a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter unit that churns 201 hp. The C300 will have the same trim levels, but it will be equipped with a V6 3.0-liter engine, good for 228 hp. The C350 will have the same engine, but this time it will output 302 hp. The high-end model will be the AMG version C63 which will most likely come with a V8 6.2-liter that outputs 451 hp.

2011 Mini Countryman

Mini will be bringing their 2011 Countryman, which will be the first four full-sized doors Mini model sold in the United States. The car will be available in two trim levels: Base and S. The entry-level will get a 4-cylinder 1.6-engine that churns 120 hp while the high-end variant will feature a 4-cylinder 1.6-liter that produces 180 hp. Both of the models will get front-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi will show us their Outlander Sport model which will be available in two trim levels: ES and SE. Both of the versions will pack a front-wheel drive system and a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that outputs 148 hp. The ES will come with a 5-speed manual gearbox while the SE will get a CVT transmission and steering-wheel paddles for manual changing.

2011 Nissan Juke

Another Japanese automaker that will be heading out to Chicago this year will be Nissan with three models: the award-winning Leaf, the funky Juke and the sporty 2012 GT-R. We talked about the Leaf thousands of times, but here is a small presentation. The car will be available with two trims levels – SV and SL. Both of them will have the same lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor that outputs 107 hp. It can be charged at either a 110-volt or a 220-volt outlet. For the first type it will need 20 hours while for the second type it will need only 8 hours.

Porsche Cayman R

The guys over at Porsche will be bringing their 2012 Cayman R. This two-seater sports coupe will come with the third and newest trim, dubbed “R”. Unlike the entry-level trim or the S mode, the R has a 6-cylinder 3.4-liter power unit that outputs 330 hp, linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard. It is also available with an optional 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

2011 Scion iQ

If you can’t afford the Aston Martin Cygnet, the next best thing is the Scion iQ. Featuring a 4-cylinder 1.3-liter engine that outputs 90 hp, this certainly won’t be the most powerful car at the Chicago Auto Show.

Scion will also be bringing the 2011 tC 2-door hatchback coupe which will be fitted with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder power unit that cranks up 180 hp, mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Toyota Prius v

Scion will not be going to Chicago without its parent company Toyota. Despite the fact that the Japanese automaker is the largest manufacturer in the world, they will be bringing only one model here (one that they already took to Detroit) – 2012 Prius v. The heart of the car will be a conventional 1.8-liter gasoline engine which will be paired with a battery-powered electric motor. The combined power will be 134 hp.

2012 Volkswagen Passat

The German automaker Volkswagen will be heading out to Chicago with the recently-launched 2012 Passat and the 2012 Eos. Presented first at Detroit, the Passat will be available in three different trim levels: S, SE and SEL. Engine options include the 4-cylinder 2.0-liter unit with 140 hp, 5-cylinder 2.5-liter with 170 hp and the high-end V6 3.6-liter with 280 ponies. The diesels will be available with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox. The 5-cylinder 2.5-liter will get either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The V6 engine will be fitted with a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

The EOS will come with a power-retractable hardtop with an integrated sunroof. Under the hood it will feature a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that produces 200 hp, mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission.

2011 Volvo S60

Sweden will be represented at Chicago by Volvo with their sexy 2011 S60 model. This premium-midsize car will benefit from a 6-cylinder 3.0-liter turbocharged engine that will produce 300 hp and will be mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. At first, the car will be available in one single trim level, the T6. Later on this year, the Swedish automaker will be introducing the T6 R-Design which should be a real looker.

These are the most important cars that will be presented at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Some of them you might have already seen while others are a premiere (not many unfortunately).  From February 9th to February 20th, the automotive capital of the world will be Chicago. Next month we will have another important auto show to review at Geneva. Stay tuned for a comprehensive coverage.

PS: Part 1 and 2 of the article are here and here. Enjoy the reading.

Post tags: Tags: auto-show, Land Rover, Lexus, mercedes, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, scion, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

Mitsubishi Global Small Concept

A few days ago, the Japanese automaker Mitsubishi revealed new details regarding their Global Small Concept along with the first rendering of this new model. The idea behind this concept is to create a car that is affordable, compact and offers a high level of fuel economy. The car will be officially unveiled at the 81st edition of the Geneva International Motor Show which will be organized for two weeks at the Geneva Palexpo starting with March 1st. This concept will be the foundation of a new model that will be produced starting with next year at Mitsubishi’s third plant located in Thailand.

The Mitsubishi Global Small Concept will be fitted with either a 1.0-liter power unit or with a 1.2-liter engine with start / stop technology and a regenerative braking system. The engineers will emphasize on keeping the curb weight to a minimum level and reducing the running resistance. All of these concepts have been employed in the development of the all-new CVT transmission, the engine as well as the tires and the brake system. Design-wise, the body of the concept has been created in order to reduce the aerodynamic resistance, making the car even more fuel efficient.

Mitsubishi Global Small Concept

In addition, the car promises to offer great maneuverability and easy operation, inheriting the features of today’s compact cars while at the same time offering enough space for five adults. Aside from the fuel efficiency, the car will have CO2 emissions of only mid-90g/km.

Post tags: Tags: global small concept, Mitsubishi

Nissan Leaf

According to Steve Holliday who is the CEO of the National Grid Plc, the electric cars will make up 20% of the United Kingdom’s automobile sales by 2016 thanks to the fact that drivers will be taking advantage of the lower fuel costs and the government subsidies. Holliday believes that by 2020, United Kingdom will have a million electric vehicles on the road. This number will be possible if one in five cars sold in the United Kingdom from 2016 will be electric.

UK, similar with other European countries, is using subsidies in order to promote EV so that the carbon dioxide emission levels will reduce in the future. From January 2011, an electric car buyer will save up to $7,795 (5,000 pounds). The same money will be saved by people that purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles. About 8.8 million pounds have been earmarked in order to sustain the development of a national recharging network which by 2013 will have about 11,000 plug-in points, in comparison to this moment when there approximately 300.

Within the next few weeks, United Kingdom will start selling the first two electric cars – the Nissan Leaf, and the Mitsubishi iMiEV. The cars will have a basic price of about 29,000 pounds and can be charged using the standard household plug.

Mitsubishi iMiEV

The SMMT – Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trades in United Kingdom said that in 2009 there were 31 million vehicles in the country and the average daily distance traveled by a driver is about 25 miles and the length of a single trip is 8.6 miles.

Holliday said that the National Grid high-voltage electricity transmission is able to face the demand of one million electric vehicles, but “penetration up and above that becomes a real issue.” He also mentioned that the local distribution networks in London for example might have problems of balancing their grids if electric car owners plug in their vehicles at the same time.

According to a SMMT report, the cost of fully charging an EV like the LEAF (which has a 100 miles range) could cost about 96 pence and take between 6 to 8 hours. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst by the name of Albert Cheung wrote in an e-mail that “depending on how fast it charges, an electric vehicle can draw as much power as a house. So if half a dozen neighbors plug in electric vehicles on the same street, it could push the local transformer over its rated capacity.”

The United Kingdom government is offering other incentives in order to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, by eliminating the demand of paying the 8 pound / day congestion charge and in some neighborhoods, electric car owners have the possibility to park for free.

Another SMTT report says that the total fuel costs of a normal conventional car that is driven 10,000 miles per year over a period of three years are approximately 2,767 pounds in comparison to only 756 pounds needed for an electric vehicle that is used over the same amount of time.

By 2014, the European emissions standards will be taking effect which means that all new cars must cut their nitrogen-oxide emissions by 56% (for diesel engines). This will most likely lead to an increase in popularity of hybrid and electric cars. At the moment there are very few cars that comply with the requirements of the Euro 6 regulations. According to HIS, the introduction of the Euro 6 rules will most likely help the electric / hybrid cars share rise across the Europe to 13% by 2020. Today the hybrid / electric cars share is approximately 0.1%.

To keep up with these new changes in regulations and standards; BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Dailmer are at the moment developing hybrid and electric cars to fulfill the future environmental regulations and at the same time, increase sales with new and attractive cars that are not only eco-friendly, but also cheaper to use.

Post tags: Tags: electric, Hybrid, imiev, leaf, Mitsubishi, Nissan

2011 Mitsubishi Galant

It seems that Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Honda Motor Co. are attempting to expand their sales in the China which is at this moment, the largest automotive market in the world and it seems that it will remain the same for the following years.

Mitsubishi has set up its first 50/50 joint venture in the Middle Kingdom and is expecting to double the capacity there. Honda is also planning on doubling the production at the Wuhan factory where in the near future it will start producing hybrid cars.

These attempts to conquer the Chinese market come as a direct response to General Motors and Volkswagen AG, as these companies have already a strong activity in China. The most important international automakers that hold the first places for most cars sold to the Chinese market are VW, GM, Hyundai, Toyota and Renault-Nissan.

From all of the Japanese car manufacturers, Mitsubishi is the last one that formed a 50-50 joint venture in China. The Fuji Heavy Industries, who is a manufacturer of Subaru cars, also has no production there, but its plans are to sign a partnership until the end of the year.

2011 Honda Civic Sedan

Honda is currently constructing a secondary assembly plant for the Dongfeng Honda Automobile Corporation, one of the brand’s 50/50 joint ventures. Although the initial capacity of this new assembly plant was set at 60,000 units per year, Honda recently stated that they have increased the number to 100,000 cars.

By 2013, the capacity of Honda’s factory in Wuhan will reach 120,000 units per year and in the upcoming years; it will be able to make 240,000 cars annually. The Dongfeng Honda plant has at the moment an annual capacity of 240,000 automobiles.

The Japanese newspaper Nikkei noted that the new plant will be making the Civic subcompact model and that by early 2012, Honda will start manufacturing hybrids in China. Seiji Kuraishi who is Honda’s boss in China, confirmed that the Japanese automaker will start making hybrids in China in the near future, but did not shared other details regarding this topic. The Nikkei newspaper also noted that the Fit and Civic hybrids are two of Honda’s options for the Chinese factories.

Honda’s sales in China reached 475, 695 cars this year until September, which is a 16% increase in comparison to the similar period of last year. However, only 63 hybrids were sold in the first 9 months of 2010.

Honda is hoping that by 2013, their manufacturing capacity in China will reach 890,000 units per year, including the 480,000 cars at the Ghuangzhou Honda joint venture as well as at the 50,000 units manufactured at Honda Automobile China, which is a local venture that makes cars for export.

Mitsubishi will be buying a 50% stake at the GAC Changfeng Motor Corporation where at the moment it has only 14.6% shares. GAC Changfeng Motor can make 80,000 cars per year. The models being built there are the Mitsubishi Pajero SUV and the Changfeng-badged SUVs. Within the next five years, Mitsubishi wants to start making 250,000 cars at the factory. In July 2012, the Japanese automaker will start producing a new vehicle there. Mitsubishi also owns 25% of Fujian Motor Co., a venture that has a 150,000 annual capacity which produces the Mitsubishi Lancer and Galant sedans.

Post tags: Tags: china, civic, galant, Honda, Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Px-MiEV

The head of Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle business recently affirmed that the company is planning on introducing a plug-in sport utility vehicle in 2013. The car will be similar with the Px-MiEV concept automobile that was exposed at the Tokyo Auto Show back in 2009, according to the senior executive officer at Mitsubishi Motor Corp. global electric vehicle business Yoshikazu Nakamura. He also affirmed that the car is in its latest stages of development.

The 4WD Px-MiEV was equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that was linked to a hybrid system consisting of two electric motors (one for the front and the other for the back). Back in 2009 when it was unveiled, the officials at Mitsubishi stated that the car could run for 30 miles in the electric mode, before changing to the gas-electric mode.

The i-MiEV will be available in Hawaii and three West Coast states when the US sales will begin in November 2011. The U.S. name of the vehicle was changed by Mitsubishi from “i-MiEV” to the “i powered by MiEV”.  The “i” model will be available starting with 2012.

Nakamura affirmed that 43 Mitsubishi dealers located in Hawaii, Washingotn, Oregon and California will be selling the “i” in the first years of the United States sales. The Japanese manufacturer does not have a name for the car yet, but it will definitely carry the “MiEV” badge – “Mitsubishi innovative electric vehicle.”

Post tags: Tags: Hybrid, miev, Mitsubishi