March 8, 2011
Although it may have a rather bland name, Mitsubishi has lofty plans for its Global Small concept car. Unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Global Small isn’t really a concept in the traditional sense of the word, given that Mitsubishi will begin building it–or something very similar–at a new Thailand factory in early 2012.
As its name implies, the Global Small is intended for sale everywhere around the world, representing Mitsubishi’s new drive to reduce development costs by using global platforms. The car will be sold in both developed and developing countries, and will even make it to the U.S. – potentially reviving the Mitsubishi Colt name along the way.
Sporting four doors and a hatch with room for five adults, the Global Small is set to compete in the same subcompact category as the Ford Fiesta. In an effort to make it a high mileage champ, Mitsubishi has filled it with some nifty technology, including an anti-idling stop-start system, a continuously variable transmission and a small 1.2-liter engine equipped with regenerative braking.
Mitsubishi has been struggling recently to stave off slagging sales, with shifts at its factory in Normal, Illinois, reduced substantially. As other automakers have begun to bounce back after the worst of the recession, Mitsubishi hasn’t seen the same increases.
Just last month the company announced a major strategic realignment to focus on the release of six new electric vehicles by 2015 in an effort to revitalize the brand. The Global Small is also part of the Mitsubishi plan to turn itself around by making research and production methods more efficient and adapting to an increasingly globalized world.
NICK CHAMBERS is a "next generation" car enthusiast, recognized for his green automotive coverage in Gas 2.0, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, HybridCars.com and PluginCars.com. In addition, he’s been syndicated in Matter Network, AP and Reuters.