In our final instalment we look at the Carisma’s showroom companions in Mitsubishi’s dealerships. What were they?
According to Car magazine’s GBU, all of them belonged in the Chump section. The Colt cost least, at just under £10,000. Another three thousand bought you a Lancer with one engine available. You’d need to offer roughly another one and a half thou more to drive off in the Galant 1.8 Si which had a 1.8 litre four, a 2.0 litre four, a 2.0 litre V6 and a 2.5 litre V6. The Sigma came as a saloon and an estate and the price of entry was nearly double that of the Galant: 30K in old money. For families Mitsubishi had a Space Star MPV for £14,000. The Space Wagon cost £15,799. Most successful might have been the Shogun SUV at £21,219. For some reason Mitsubishi also had a 155 mph sports car called the 3000 GT for £42,000. Car described this vehicle as a “waste of effort.”
Two years later the Carisma had displaced the Lancer, and cost £11,890. With a typical inability to compare like with like, Car though the Volvo S40 more satisfying even though it cost £3000 more than its relative.
So, in 1995 Mitsubishi had a range of eight cars, from city hatchback to sports GT and SUV. Today, they sell four cars in the UK: the Mirage, the ASX, the Shogun and the Outlander.
I had not thought about the Sigma for a long time until I came to write this. Here we find another contender for the Tagora award and which might very well have been an even better subject for today’s symposium.
Where does the Carisma fit in here? On reflection, it ought to have been a car to gain new customers and provide a steady stream of cash to use for investing in new products and new technology. Instead it lingered in the showrooms for nine years and repelled customers from Mitsubishi generally. The general lesson is that getting late to market is a disaster. And bad product planning can compound it: the Carisma is a clear example of both. These rather than the bland styling, were the real reason for the car’s dismal performance.
For some reason Renault-Nissan are paying $2.3 billion for Mitsubishi.