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Car and Driver: On Lancer! On i-MiEV, On to the Great Beyond! Mitsubishi to Focus Energies on Mirage, Crossovers

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Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car Prototype

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Dear Lancer, in your most highly evolved form, you’ve offered Americans roughly a decade of turbofied, all-wheels-driven mirth. But you’re long in the tooth, and not long for the U.S. market. O i-MiEV, the only kei car we Yanks could avail ourselves of without resorting to gray-market trickery, you were somewhat beloved by a few, and otherwise ignored by the early-adopter crowd in favor of larger EVs. Thus, fair Mitsubishis, we shall shortly bid you adieu, as your parent is set to recalibrate its presence in the States.

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According to a report from Automotive News, with the exception of the decent-selling, cheapo-special Mirage, Mitsubishi is abandoning its passenger-car presence in the U.S. market. No major shock here, as the Galant departed in 2012, and it’s been many a moon since a new Diamante or 3000GT graced an American driveway. And despite the company’s suggestion last summer that the Lancer would see replacement, it now looks as if that option’s been tabled, at least as far as our market goes.

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Instead, Mitsu will focus its energies on the recently unveiled, refreshed Outlander Sport and its larger, sport-free Outlander sibling. The plug-in Outlander Sport plug-in hybrid is due in the middle of next year, carrying the i-MiEV’s wall-socket banner. Future product plans include hopping on the coupe-ified ute bandwagon with a vehicle meant to slot in between the Outlander and the Sport, while the Outlander sees a redesign sometime after 2017, followed by a new Outlander Sport roughly two years behind it.

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Mitsuibishi is going where the sales are, which given its limited resources, is smart. Still, we can’t help seeing echoes of Isuzu’s car-free spiral in Mitsubishi’s current path. Though to be fair to Mitsu, it’s not dependent on another automaker—in Isuzu’s case, GM—for the platforms upon which it builds its U.S.-market vehicles.

-WzztgkMGixg

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