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Its not everyday that HM-Mitsubishi come out of the closet to speak to the media and the recent launch of the Pajero Sport revealed quite a bit of information on the company’s plans for the Indian market. Firstly the Japanese automaker is indeed considering the launch of its small car Mitsubishi Mirage in India and might even dump its long time partner Hindustan Motors and go solo. The company is looking to increase volumes and is well aware that maintaining presence in the SUV segment won’t be enough for long term survival. Thus market research has commenced to see if the Mirage is a good fit for Indian customers.

“We know that India is a small car market and we would also like to join that segment at some point of time in future. For these mass products, we need certain volumes and sales and service network. However, our sales volume and in India is very low at the moment and we would like to increase those first through the existing products. We have a global hatchback, which is being unveiled this month in Thailand. We’re looking at the feasibility of bringing that to India and are considering both the sedan and the hatch versions,” Masahiko Ueki, Executive Officer and Corporate GM, Mitsubishi Motors, Japan, said.

The Mitsubishi Mirage is a new global small car, which will be launched in Thailand soon. The company is looking at Malaysia, Thailand and India to set up a factory to produce the Mirage hatchback. This factory will then become an export hub. However, a decision is still pending as Mitsubishi is still weighing in the options. As far as the Mirage’s India entry goes, it won’t happen before 2014, since a solid distribution network needs to be put in place before launching a volume model.

Currently Mitsubishi sells a paltry 4000 vehicles in India every year. This is really low compared to what its Japanese counterparts are managing. Mitsubishi entered Indian much before Nissan, Renault, Volkswagen and Skoda. However the company is not really grown over the years, thanks to the lackluster decisions taken by its partner Hindustan Motors. Now with the Mirage hatchback all set to go on sale in other parts of the world, a sedan version on the same platform is being developed, which could also find its way here (if the hatchback does).

The Mitsubishi Mirage is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine, which is mated to a CVT gearbox. The vehicle benefits from very low fuel consumption and also features technologies like Start-Stop system, Regenerative Braking and light weight body. An electric version of the car is also on the cards, while Mitsubishi will almost never get that to India. Expect a price of Rs. 4.5-6 lakhs of the Mirage, if and when it goes on sale in our country, rivaling the Hyundai i10, Honda Brio and Maruti Suzuki Swift.

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