• Nov 24, 2009
Mitsubishi i MiEV - Click above for high-res image gallery

Mitsubishi already plans on selling its little MiEV electric car in the U.S. within the next 18 months, and it appears that we may get a gasoline powered version of the roomy micro car as well. Automotive News is reporting that Mitsubishi is mulling the idea of putting petrol power in charge of propulsion of some i models, giving dealers a higher volume line that can compete with the Smart Fortwo. The automaker already sells a gasoline powered i in Europe, but Mitsubishi Motors North America VP John Koenig reportedly told AN that the Euro model's turbocharged 660cc motor would likely be swapped out for the same Mitsubishi-sourced 1.0-liter three-cylinder model that powers the Smart.

If Koenig wants to bring the gas-powered i to the States, he estimates that he'll have to prove that dealers can sell 1,000 models per month in order to get the parent company to pull the trigger. That sounds doable to us considering Smart sold 20,000 Fortwo's in the first 10 months of production – in spite of the fact that the unique-looking micro mini is premium-priced and only has two seats. The i can comfortably seat four and it can probably be sold for close to the Fortwo's $11,990 starting price. The typical i sells in more small car tolerant Europe for $16,000.



[Source: Automotive News - subs. req.]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would love to have the i here in the states.
      Everything I read about that car is aces it seems.
      But that engine is the single worst thing about the Smart in the states... and that includes the still oft complained of tranny.
      Either of these vehicles would do much better here with a more economical engine.
      Frankly anything that takes hi-test is just a deal breaker for a lot of people.. particular people looking to save money on gas with a smaller car.
      And while gas/money savings is not the only reason for a smaller car - for many it is a big reason.
      • 5 Years Ago
      how can the editor deserve to forget that most of the gas engined mitsu "i"s are sold in japan?
      did he think that it was all made in europe? hmm ...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looking forward to seeing these i variants in the states and i hope they sell like hot cakes!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why can't they just bring the Colt over? It's been selling well in Europe, and is the underpinnings for the Smart ForFour. It would still be less than a Yaris / ForTwo. I swear, Mitsubishi US has some of the absolute WORST management.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the current Colt is nearing the end of its cycle so rather then try to make it US worthy, they would rather wait until the new model comes out and just design it one time with all major markets in mind.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Have loved this car since I saw the concept years ago.Just needs the "big" 1124 cc 3 that is standard in the Colt.With gas at 2.50 a gallon,Smart sales sinking,a new tiny Scion on the way,doubtfull.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why bring over the i with a ice engine so can it can fail? Bring over the MiEV or don't even bother.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Um, they already have that internationally. It's called the "i"!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Its silly because the MiEV is an obvious acronym to "Mitsubishi "i" EV".

        The concept of this car since 2003, and the Tata Nano is an obvious cost-effective rip-off of the Mitsubishi i.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Japanese "Nano" makes it to the US....

        Ta..ta!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not quite,

        MiEV = Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle.

        the gasoline version is called "i" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_i)
        the EV version is called "i MiEV".

        So if they ever make EV versions from existing cars, they'll be called "Lancer MiEV", "Outlander MiEV", "Eclipse MiEV" and so on.

        Get it?
      • 5 Years Ago
      These tiny cars are not safe enough. Please look at my invention to make them safer.
      www.safersmallcars.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      The i is already sold in Japan and Europe -- the unique bit would be the engine swap. And yes the Nano is an homage to the i, which started appearing in design sketches and concept cars around 10 years ago.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It seems that this car is one of Mitsubishi's most interesting cars. Surprised they hadn't decided to bring it to the US sooner - especially since the Smart has been here already for a couple of years already. It could be just the thing to jump start Mitsu's image here in the US again. Lord knows they need something interesting and different to stand out from the crowd - their regular 4-door sedans aren't doing it for most people.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed, one of Mitsu's most interesting cars. Looks unique, and not bad at all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mitsu should give this a go here in the States...a gasoline version WOULD sell, I'm sure, and give the Smart a run for the money. Smart sales aren't tanking as much as you may think, and petrol prices will NOT remain as low as they are now. Eventually prices will zoom...the only thing Mitsu should try and aim for is making their gas engine drink REGULAR instead of premium gas. That would give it more of an edge over the SMART, IMHO.

      Happy Holidaze...LOL...

      Peace!
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