The seventh-generation Mitsubishi Colt is well overdue for a replacement, and here in Geneva, Mitsu took the wraps off what's likely to form its next B-segment player.
As you'd suspect from its unimaginative name, the Global Small Concept is being developed for worldwide consumption, and spans a squat 147 inches and a relatively narrow 66 inches wide, with power provided by a three-cylinder MIVEC gasoline engine. Once the official production model debuts early next year, 1.0- and 1.2-liter three-pots will be available, along with start-stop tech and regenerative braking. And with a vehicle this small, it's all but assured that Mitsubishi will take some of the lessons learned from its i-MiEV project to produce an all-electric model.
While the U.S. hasn't seen a Colt on our shores for nearly two decades, we've been told that Mitsubishi is actively considering bringing its next sub-compact to the States, and we should know for sure by this time next year.
Live photos copyright ©2011 Damon Lavrinc / AOL
After "Project Global" in the C/D-Segments*, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is now pushing the boundaries of global product planning with the forthcoming introduction of "Global Small" in the B-Segment: a next-generation architecture with built-in flexibility to accommodate - by design - customer requirements in ALL world markets in the lower sector of the market(s).
Previewed as "Concept-Global Small" at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, this "e-compact" will be unveiled in production form towards the end of this year, prior to a start of production scheduled for early 2012 at an equally all-new plant Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is currently building in Thailand – its third factory in this strategic production hub.
*Lancer, Outlander, ASX, Delica D:5
Global product of the "Global Village"
This new Mitsubishi will be proposed as an entry model for emerging markets as well as a fuel efficient car in developed markets. As such, this all-new e-compact project shall be MMC's answer to some fundamental evidences:
With 80% of its total output bound for export, Mitsubishi Motors ought to take into consideration the trend towards globalization in trade and communications, no matter the market segment.
In fast developing markets such as China, ASEAN and other emerging areas (50% of all world markets by 2013), MMC shall embrace the increasing demand for personal mobility through affordable, fuel efficient and substantial yet compact vehicles.
In the mature markets of Japan, North America or Europe, downsizing and efficiency are key to meet ever stringent environmental regulations whilst fulfilling the need for multi-motorization with sensible products in a re-invented B-Segment.
In the face of volatile exchange rates & commodity prices as well as the challenge to serve all world markets with small vehicles delivering – by definition - low margins, Mitsubishi Motors shall pursue the highest level of efficiency in its production system through the concept of global production hub.
Developed in Okazaki (Japan) – MMC's global R&D Center - in less than 2 years, the forthcoming Global Small project is meant to merge all these "eco/compact" requirements into one single package designed as such instead of mere adaptation(s):
"e" for "efficiency": highly efficient in its overall packaging, Mitsubishi Motors' e-compact combines the virtues of a small vehicle (manoeuvrability,...) and excellent visibility whilst sitting 5 adults in comfort and accommodating sufficient luggage space within a retrained footprint (3,74 m length x 1,68 m width): one of the most space efficient in the B-Segment.
"e" for "engineering": the architecture this e-compact is based upon has been designed to accommodate upfront foreseeable customer and regulatory requirements in ALL world markets whether Japan, North America, emerging countries or Europe, instead of costly later adaptations: a first in the small car class.
"e" for "environment": through weight saving measures, all-new petrol 1.0 and 1.2 liter MIVEC powertrains, the application of MMC's green technology solutions (Auto Stop and Go, Brake energy regenerative system,, etc,...) and fine-tuned aerodynamics as exemplified in the sloping roof line, Mitsubishi's e-compact can boast sensible level of fuel consumption and therefore emissions well in line with market trends.
"e" for "electric vehicle": as a further environmentally friendly measure – and a direct effect of its fully integrated Global Small architecture - e-compact is engineered to accommodate a further variant, fitted with a 100% electric powertrain.
"e" for " economies": robust and reliable by design as customary for Japanese products, "Global Small" should also guarantee low running costs.
"e" for "effective design": as a daily reliable runabout equally at ease crossing the bush, tackling megapole traffic or blasting highways (within speed limits), the Mitsubishi e-compact was styled with no-nonsense efficiency-first in mind. Robust looking yet enjoying sophisticated aerodynamics, it should grace traffic nonetheless with a friendly face.
"e" for "export": the first of its kind, "Global Small" will be built at MMC's dedicated hub of Laem Chabang Industrial Estate in the Chonburi province of Thailand. The forecasted annual volume of 150,000 units (with a possible increase to 200,000 units) will be exported to the ASEAN countries , Japan, North Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America and many other markets around the world.
Fifty years later after its first small car, the little "500" launched in 1960 just at the start of the massive export drive of Japan, Mitsubishi Motors' ambitious e-compact is about to open a new significant page in MMC's history...
Overall Length: 3,74 m
Overall Width: 1,68 m
Overall Height: 1,49 m
Powertrain: 3 cylinder MIVEC (petrol) engine
Auto Stop and Go
Brake energy regenerative system
185/55 R 16 low rolling resistance tires
*indicative only vs. the final production car.