To say that Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is on a roll would be exaggerating the situation, but with North American sales up in recent months
The Mitsbusihi three-cylinder engine would replace the gasoline powerplant in smart’s next-generation fortwo (current fortwo shown). (Photo: Shawn Pisio, Canadian Auto Press)
and new models entering showrooms across the nation, there’s a feeling of optimism brewing from the dealer level all the way up to the automaker’s executives.
News that a big engine deal with DaimlerChrysler’s smart brand (lower case intentional), while not affecting the North American operation directly, should be a positive boost for the automaker’s European division, and therefore, uplifting for Mitsubishi Motors Corp. overall.
Currently Mitsubishi enjoys a joint venture with smart, building its popular Colt subcompact alongside smart’s forfour subcompact in its NedCar facility in the Netherlands – the two models share many common components as well. The new engine, however, would replace the gasoline powerplant in smart’s next-generation
The new smart will use the same 65-horsepower three-cylinder intercooler-turbocharged engine as Mitsubishi’s new “i” minicar. (Photo: Mitsubishi Motors North America)
fortwo A-segment microcar, the current iteration now enjoying its first year anniversary in Canada with over 4,000 units sold.
According to DaimlerChrysler, the new smart will use the same 65-horsepower three-cylinder intercooler-turbocharged engine as Mitsubishi’s new “i” minicar, which debuted at the 2003 Tokyo show in concept form and just launched in production trim this week in Tokyo. The new i is due in Japanese showrooms this January, while the smart won’t be available until 2007.
While the engine deal won’t affect Mitsubishi sales directly, it will definitely assist Mitsubishi in reducing unit costs for the engines, which should translate into profits.
The engines are to be produced at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima, Japan manufacturing facility.