Remarkably unremarkable. It’s not much of an epitaph but it’s probably better than ‘Born in Sittard-Geleen’*
There’s always something irritating about an object which fails to live up to the promise of its name, which is one of the reasons the Mitsubishi Carisma annoys me. To be honest, I’d have preferred to have maintained a Carisma-free silence on the subject, but since we’re doing this as some mad thought experiment, here we are.
Even if the Carisma was some special stage legend in the manner of its more revered Lancer cousin, deified by petrolheads from Ghenk to Gateshead and all the way back again, it would still be an utterly DAFt name for a car. Did the Carismatic chicken come before the self effacing egg or vice versa? Because if you’re going to start with a name, you might feel impelled to imbue the thing with a least a few shavings of the qualities its misspelt moniker suggests. Someone in marketing dreamed this one up. I hope they were pleased with themselves.
But what qualities are we talking about? According to my dictionary, the roots of the word lie in the ancient Greek term kharis; one of the charities or graces, the goddesses who impart graciousness to life. Charisma itself is defined as a quality enabling a person (or car perhaps) to impress or influence. That’s a lot to ask of a car – any car, least of all a fairly unremarkable mid-sized saloon from a fairly unremarkable Japanese manufacturer built in the fairly unremarkable town of Born in the Netherlands. (*Yes, there’s a pun here but such a weak one I felt compelled to signpost it). To be fair however, the fact that it was built at this site is interesting in that the VDL Nedcar plant was a former DAF assembly operation which came about owing to Mitsubishi’s joint venture with Volvo – its S40/V40 ‘twin beneath the skin’ built at the same facility being a fairly charisma-free experience as well, or so it’s said.
Another definition of charisma refers to a divine spiritual power, which itself is noteworthy because I seem to recall there being a charismatic religious movement some years back whose speciality was speaking in tongues. Thinking about it, the Carisma is exactly the sort of car one could expect to find parked at a giddy angle, emblazoned with ‘Jesus is my co-driver’ window stickers. Perhaps we’re edging towards Mitsu’s core demographic?
Or equally I’m simply being uncharitable – both to charismatic Christians and to the forgotten and equally forgettable Mitsubishi saloon, but what else am I expected to say about something as shatteringly unremarkable as this? And in my defence, Richard and Sean nabbed all the best words first.