Idle Thoughts: ボディカラー

A good question relates to the state of Mitsubishi in the UK car market. I am asking it today.

1984 Mitsubishi Colt turbo

1984 Mitsubishi Colt: sold out

What do Mitsubishi sell today? Though the Lancer and Colt are still listed in Mitsubishi UK’s website, they are described as sold out. The remaining range consists of an electric car, a sub-B hatch called the Mirage, several flavours of sport utility vehicles and the very specialised Evolution X FQ-440 MR. This oddity fits into the range as well as an adult “toy” in a shop selling golfing equipment. In Germany, for comparison, the Lancer is still on sale as a “sport saloon” and a hatchback. The Shogun goes by the Pajero moniker and the Mirage is a Space Star.

2014 Mitsubishi Proudia Dignity

2014 Proudia Dignity

The impression of Mitsubishi as a brand in decline holds only if your view is centred on a region between London, Birmingham and Peterborough. The newswires are hot with reports that Mitsubishi have bought the site of a former Ford plant in the Philippines. And if you care to visit a Mitsubishi dealer in Japan you can leave with a Delica D:5 Royal Exceed or a Proudia Dignity. This is a hybrid version of the Nissan Cima. I suggest readers take the time to familiarise themselves with the rich diversity of products that Mitsubishi Japan offer their customers. What is remarkable is that Japan can sustain this broad variety of cars in a market that on the same scale as the European one.

Below is the Delica D:5 Royal Exceed.

The Exceed: available in Japan

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

3 thoughts on “Idle Thoughts: ボディカラー”

  1. Mitsubishi have always been on the fringes in the UK, making inroads then disappearing again. In the UK, they are mostly thought of by people who want the Evo, which, like a Morgan +4, increasingly seems to belong to another era, and the L200 pickup. And of course the Shogun, whose main claim to fame is the snigger factor each time the translation from Spanish of its more widely used Pajero name is trotted out on a desperate TV show or website like this. But why did they change the name for the traditionally fearsomely non-lingustic Brits? For us Brits though, and keeping with the cheap laughs, Starion was an intriguingly odd name for a Japanese Pony car.

    I had a rare sighting of a Mitsubishi i the other day. Disregarding the Special Edition with fake denim upholstery, this always seemed an interesting car with its Kei dimensions and mid mounted engine, together with an electric version. A more practical alternative to a Smart certainly.

    As an historical aside, the 1934 Mitsubishi PX33 was the first Japanese saloon with full time 4 wheel drive. This is a fact I have known for many years, since I once had to paint a picture of one on the doors of Mitsubishi Ralliart’s UK headquarters.

  2. Mitsubishi has always been my least favourite Japanese manufacturers (apart from the late ’90s, that is, when Nissan’s super vanilla “Blandonero” phase had a more numbing effect on the senses than a great many sleeping pills). There was, of course, the Pajero, but apart from that they were faceless in that white goods sense, which Toyota has managed to turn into a tangible quality by virtue of its products quality. Where Toyota’s seemed to be dull-but-reliable, Mitsubishi’s appeared to be just dull (albeit not as dull as a late ’90’s Primera or Almera).

    Mind you, Delicad5: Royal Exceed is a phenomenal name on an awful lot of levels…

  3. There was a time when there were some in the UK describing Mitsubishi as a potential Japanese Mercedes. There was a time – around the mid-late 80’s when Mitsubishi had a coherent, attractive range of well regarded cars – the 1985 Galant being particularly singled out for praise. Interesting then, that Daimler-Benz took a share in Mitsubishi shortly after Herr Schrempp embarked on his adventure with Chrysler. It didn’t go well for a whole host of reasons and Daimler walked away in 2005. Leaving Mitsubishi rather exposed and somewhat diminished. Whether this explains their almost complete absence from the UK market is another matter entirely.

    Those names beg the question of what did they reject as too whimsical? Try coming up with your own – it’s much more difficult than it appears.

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