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Next Generation Technology Review Part 1

Next Generation Technology Review Part 1

Mitsubishi sometime ago shared a portfolio of new technology they were looking to implement in the next wave of vehicles.   Given that they were in a time crunch to develop an entirely new engine platform, the offerings were decent not plentiful.   For those who do not know,  the world engine platform was terminated soon after it was released by Dodge, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai.  This is where the 4B11 and 4B12 engine came from.   Dodge more or less decided they were going their own way with Fiat and bought out the other two participates.  While Mitsubishi could still crank out 4B11 & 4B12 engines, design changes and refinements would likely cost more in the long run and may incur additional fees or royalties of some kind.

While extremely disruptive, Mitsubishi did reactive some projects that remained dormant since 2007.  Many should know that Mitsubishi made great inroads in the mid 2000 and even dabbled in Diesel Tech. before focusing on the World Engine Project.  Fast forward to today,  Mitsubishi is now in the best position it has ever been in since 2008-2009 when the global market went to hell in a hand basket.  Operations are lean,   The Japanese currency has offered a 30% swing to make Japanese Exports more economical, and their new technologies are ready.

I constantly get email messages from people who know me and those who just follow my blog posts about Mitsubishi staying in the game.  (In North America).  As many of you know, Suzuki made decision to pick up gun and pull the trigger on exiting the North American Car Market.  Some would say…. myself included… if they just waited another 3 months, they would have benefited from the currency slide.  but they didnt… and decided to only focus on the Motorcycle side of the business.

Mitsubishi on the other hand I am sure picked up the gun even earlier decided to see where things go.  While I think the gun is in hand…. The increasing favorable currency situation and on time technology development seems to be keeping things calm for now.  While exiting the North American market is on the table anything can happen.  But… I would gamble that Mitsubishi stays in the game until the new wave of vehicles are released.  Some may come as soon as next year.

Mitsubishi’s focus will be on fuel economy!  The last generation of vehicles has a significant focus on Power (TQ) and reliability.   Fuel economy was in there somewhere, but vs. its peers, this was lacking.  Mitsubishi’s has been working very diligently on battery technology and there should be no surprise that it will start to appear in all vehicles.  The question is for many… how prominent will it be in the vehicle configuration.  Will it be an invisible hand or something that hinders what Mitsubishi owners do… typically modify and make it more powerful.

Some years ago.  Honda released a new car called the CRZ.  It was amazing because it was reaching back to a classic and they included hybrid technology that seemed cool.  But…. sigh…. the cool technology ended up getting in the way of enthusiasts and made any aftermarket development for the car a “bloody nightmare” as some tuners frequently say.  Hybrid Regenerative brakes were not fun to deal with.  The CRZ hybrid was not a failure…. Honda’s footing of not creating a non Hybrid version is what killed the platform.  Even after years of further production, Honda did not create a simple non hybrid version.  Some argued that Honda painted themselves into a corner about going green with this vehicle, and didnt want to back pedal from the mandate. :(

Getting back to Mitsubishi, they are designing a new EVO and while the body styling has been left until the end. (no one knows what it looks like), the guts underneath does look impressive.  But, the final combo of technology has yet to be determined.  One of the things that are in play is a Stop and Start technology for fuel savings when driving in the city.   There is nothing new about this technology.  Mitsubishi has experimented with this in other cars over the years . (Europe) The Mitsubishi Colt for example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_z-lsxRG3w

The technology in 2014 will likely be in a passive state, meaning the driver will control when the engine turns off and resumes at stops.  (Not automatically) The simple logic is that an engine that isnt running doesnt consume fuel.  For an overview of past systems of Stop and Start.  Or as Mitsubishi calls it, Stop and GO.  Visit their technology page here. http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com/en/spirit/technology/library/idle_reduction.html

 

Another technology I have had the pleasure of testing is the new CVT7 and CVT8 technology which is the next generation of CVT transmissions coming on market.  The smaller engine vehicles like the Mitsubishi Mirage & Nissan Versa Note have been a pleasure to drive.  The low fuel consumption works to make these vehicles number 1 in their class.  I have logged about 6000km on a CVT7 transmission and when you fuel economy is 5.8L per 100 on a fuel tank of gas, you tend to realize that there is mega fuel cost savings.  So much so that I figure that if you jump from a Lancer into one of these small cars, the fuel savings alone will likely pay down half of your car payment…. maybe more if you drive as much as I do.

 

Happy Holidays and end of the Mitsubishi world?

 

We seemed to get thru the real Mayan end of the world just fine.  But again many out there tend to think that Mitsubishi may fall on it’s sword in the new year.  Many posted this video link on the internet which caused a bit of stir lately.  http://finance.yahoo.com/topics/financially-fit/finfit-6-brands-likely-disappear-150000624.html Is this true?  The short answer is…. No.  While yes Mitsubishi is suffering a huge cash crunch as they restart the franchise, and yes their marketing for the past 4 years has been less than stellar.   Mostly because of 3 big factors,  just bad timing, bad luck, and strategic partners that just wasn’t in it to win it.

 

The marketing and selection of cars in 2007 required a bit more of a broader line up.  The Mitsubishi Lancer was launched successful but because Mitsubishi cut of the cars that made its self great without offering greener options.  This hurt Mitsubishi big time.  The EVO, Lancer, and Outlander became its only winners.  Most of Mitsubishi sales have been because of these 3 variants.  Eclipse didn’t really go anyway.  The number one thing that Mitsubishi missed out on was the Mitsubishi Colt which met all of the objectives for what Mitsubishi wanted.  I have been told that at the time Mitsubishi felt the success of the colt would be marginal.  To be honest, if it was me, I think it would have been the gamble that could have changed the tide of the war.  The green push in my opinion is a good thing, but it was too radical and too quick of a timetable.   Mitsubishi released some ads that completely offended their customer base vs. converted their customer base to greener pastures.

Bad luck?  Yes the Earthquake really hit Mitsubishi and it’s semi sister company Nissan very hard.  A lot of production was tide together in Japan, and the earthquake caused massive delays.

 

One of things that really huge Mitsubishi was the world engine alliance.  The birth of the 4B11 engine was both a great thing for the world but a bad bet/ investment for Mitsubishi.  Sharing technology with Hyundai and Dodge was something that definitely benefited the two others.  Hyundai used the technology in their Hyundai Genesis and made a better product as a result.  Albeit an engine with cast internals, they still understood well enough.  Dodge on the other hand. Took the technology and ran.  Buying out Mitsubishi and Hyundai’s share and making a new partnership with Fiat.  In other words, those wonderful people at Dodge ended their alliance with Mitsubishi again…. and bolted.  They executed the plan of smaller cars by themselves leaving Mitsubishi high and dry.

After all these kicks to the nuts.  Mitsubishi keeps on moving.  If Mitsubishi was not balls in to win this, they would not be signing production agreements for North America.  Mitsubishi Japan has an extensive financial arm that keeps pumping money into this fight.  But to be completely open here. Unless Mitsubishi A) brings in sport options to all of its cars.  (cough cough Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart)  B) Reactivates the Ralliart Japan program… I feel Mitsubishi’s days are numbered.

I am still hopeful that new management will see the light and make the franchise successful in 2013/2014 which they release new cars.