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Auto blogWed, 02 Jul 2014 16:29:00 EST
Chrysler and Mitsubishi have had a close relationship since the early '70s. Back then, they partnered up to sell the Japanese brand's models under American names as captive imports in the US. Vehicles like the Dodge Colt, Eagle Summit, and eventually the 3000GT/Stealth twins and lots of other cars and trucks became the fruits of that alliance. In fact, the two companies still maintain a good rapport, as evidenced by reports of a new deal to sell the Mitsubishi Attrage, also known the Mirage G4, in Mexico starting in November.
The Attrage is a small, four-door sedan that borrows many of the mechanical bits from the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback. According to Automotive News, the deal allows Chrysler to sell the model in Mexico for the next five years. The deal could be a win-win for both companies. Mitsubishi gets to use more capacity at its Laem Chabang, Thailand factory where the car is made, and Chrysler gets a new vehicle for a growing market with almost zero development costs. At this time, there's no indication of the new model's name in Mexico, though.
There's also still a chance the Attrage might make it to the US market as well. The automaker showed off the sedan as the Mirage G4 at the 2014 Montreal Motor Show ahead of promised sales in small-car-friendly Canada. The Mirage hatchback was introduced to the US in a similar way, debuting in Canada first and then crossing the border. While reviews for the Mirage have been pretty atrocious, it would still be interesting to see Mitsubishi further expanding its lineup in North America.
Mitsubishi has a long history of tidy little pickup trucks, and the Japanese automaker is apparently looking to extend that heritage in a bolder, bigger way with the Concept GR-HEV, a "sport utility hybrid truck."
The future-think show star, slated to be unveiled at next month's Geneva Motor Show, is actually tipped to be a much larger effort - Mitsubishi says it's applying its hybrid technology to a one-ton truck for the first time. The GR-HEV is powered by a complex powertrain composed of a diesel engine and electric motors, which the company believes is better suited to the sort of heavy-duty work required in the segment. The concept also employs full-time four-wheel drive and a development of Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel Control system (which governs things like stability and brake force control along with an active center differential) as seen on the production Lancer Evolution.
In related news, Mitsubishi has also confirmed that it will show a next-generation electric showcar at Geneva dubbed Concept CA-MiEV. With this new concept (inset photo), the company says it is looking to build on the learnings of its i citycar and take EVs out of their limited urban roles. To that end, the CA-MiEV boasts "next generation EV systems and high density batteries" that give it a range of 186 miles.
Episode #357 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Jeff Ross are joined by Jeff Glucker of Hooniverse.com. Topics include the SEMA Show, the Cadillac CTS being named the Motor Trend Car of the Year, Mitsubishi's near-term plans and the 2015 Subaru WRX. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #357: