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KIA gets with it and releases a Turbo Forte

KIA gets with it and releases a Turbo Forte

While Mitsubishi has been on hold with readying the next generation of the Lancer and EVO.  The Turbo sedan market just got a bit more crowded.  Hyundai and Kia have been hard at work polishing up their entire line up to be what Honda use to be a decade or two ago.  And to be honest, they are not doing a bad job of it.  Honda on the other hand couldnt hit the broad side of a barn for about 13 years.

While Mitsubishi is hinting of hybrid will be an important part of their 2014 – 2015 program.  The question remains how prevalent will turbo technology be?

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Yearning for Mitsubishi to release the Colt in North America!

For 4 years, I have sent a well thought out letter to Mitsubishi Corp to release the Colt (2007+ ) in North America.  It is a small car I would buy in a heart beat.   In 2008, it was a letter that was about half a page.  In 2009, it was about 2 pages long.  In 2010 and 2011 it was about 4 pages long and I articulated every detail as to why I think this car would do exceptionally well in North America.  The response I got was more or less  “We will take it under advisement”.    The reason why I think the Colt would have worked is because there really wasnt anyone in the Turbo small car space in North America.  Sure we had small cars like the Yaris and the Fit.  But nothing with a turbo.    Now we see cars all over the place.  Hyundai Veloster will be hitting the streets next year with a 200 HP turbo small car.   Chevy already jumped in with the Cruze which is borderline small car / mid size sedan.  With talk of more car companies shifting the focus back to turbos to get the fuel economy job done, it makes me scratch my head why we can’t get our hands on the sexy Mitsubishi Colt.

I would buy it in a heart beat.  Hell….. here is my 20,000 dollars now.  Give me a Ralliart Colt with AYC and I say Mitsubishi sells 25,000 in the first year.

The good news is Mitsubishi has told me they have product coming.  They will completely revamp / remap where they are going.  Now to some that sounds scary, but I am the type that doesnt like to judge before seeing the goods.   I and about a Million Mitsu hardcore owners are waiting for what comes next.

In the mean time.  Watch this vid,

Mitsubishi's New Mirage replaces the Colt North America never saw

Mitsubishi’s New Mirage replaces the Colt North America never saw

Mitsubishi is moving ahead with the Mirage.  After 2 years of serious development, insider say that its closer to production than many know.  Mitsubishi has pored a tremendous amount of resources into this car and the green technology that drives it.  But…  How does the new Mirage stack up to the Mitsubishi Colt it is replacing in Europe?

After asking some tough questions with my Mitsu Japan contacts.  The number 1 achievement for Mitsubishi is to significantly reduce if not eliminate emissions fleet wide.  Mitsubishi wants to move itself into that space first before anyone else.  While I began the conversation feeling uncomfortable with the radical departure from what everyone is use to.  Everyone, myself included, fear change.  For me its rapid change that gets to me.  but as we talked, I started to feel very energized.

But there were still a few things that left me puzzled.   Mitsubishi had a great car released 4 years ago in Europe called the Colt.  Why retire it and start over?  Did it not reach all the ECO targets set out?   They paused for a few minutes and told me.  “We took what we learned there and made it better!”

Now let me stop right there and tell you guys a bit about the Mitsubishi Colt.

Say hello to the 150 Horsepower Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart And 109 HP Natural Aspirated Colt available today in Europe.

Sexy isn’t it?  What is even more stunning is that this 1.5L turbo engine puts out great fuel economy.  33 MPG City and 50 MPG High.  50!  Getting that while running Premium gas is a breath of fresh are.  The Naturally Aspirated engines are green too.  And there are 3 of them in use in Europe right now

A)  1.5L engine putting out 109HP
B) 1.3L engine putting out 95HP
C) 1.1L engine putting out 75HP for the super green tree lover in you.

It is option C that will shock and awe you.  getting as much as 950 KM (590 Miles) on a full tank of gas.

Mitsubishi was doing this 4 years ago in Europe.  All without having to go hardcore hybrid.  And for 4 years I asked why not North America.  This car would be a hit, its small, light weight and most importantly it has a Turbo.  It would represent a competitive edge over the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and the Mazda 2 which came out in the last year.

In recent discussion with Mitsubishi Japan, I was told

“strategic planning in 2008 – 2009 shifted the focus towards more fuel efficient technologies.  Namely hybrid and full blown electric plug in options.”

Ok I get it, but I guess for the last 4 years I have been harping in on why did it not come here in 2007 with the Lancer and EVO X?  It was explained as

“A Management decision influenced by the fact that North America was using a new engine platform and it may interfere with marketing efforts.  Second, the were not sure of its suitability in our North American Market.  Third, the marketing focus for North America at the time was solely on the Lancer, Ralliart & EVO X as flagship cars.”

After asking my translator to repeat that last part, but he again translated it again just like that.

When I talked to my contact further about what is coming down the road.  He said the technology is far more advanced and eco than the Colt.  And most importantly, the emissions will be cut in half or rendered non existent.  As he want on, I was slowly getting the sharp point.  Mitsubishi wants to put it in the minds of everyone that when you say the Name Mitsubishi you immediately see “MITSUBISHI = GREEN / ECO FRIENDLY” All by the year 2015.

Its Ambitious!  And a noble goal.  But I asked… how many of your traditional customers will follow and will your new technology be as engaging as past vehicles.

His short answer as YES! overwhelmingly.  As I paused on the phone for about 10 seconds.  I waited for him to say more.  Then he articulated it this way as I kinda waited.

“We think that the next few years will be our time in the spot light.  This is where they fuse traditional Mitsubishi style  and design with our eco technology.”

While he didnt say officially but he eluded to the fact that a hardcore coupe is in the pipe and may reach beyond just concepts soon.  But the million dollar question is.  When???

Stay tuned… I will talk more about this later and chime in what Mitsubishi is showing off at the Toyko Auto Show.  The Mitsubishi Mirage.