Monday, February 19, 2007

Mitsubishi "i" to go on sale in the UK

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15 February 2007

MITSUBISHI “i” TO GO ON SALE IN THE UK

Mitsubishi Motors UK has confirmed that the multi-award winning Mitsubishi “i” minicar will go on sale in the UK on 1st July 2007, with one highly-specified model to be launched priced at £8,999. The rear-mid-engined, four-seater “i” has already achieved cult status in Japan where it has proved both a critical and commercial success due to its futuristic styling, agile handling, clever use of interior space and comfortable ride.

Over 37,000 units were sold in Japan during 2006 and a string of automotive and design awards culminated in the “i” being named “RJC Car of the Year” by the Automotive Researchers & Journalists of Japan (RJC). Critics and customers alike have been seduced by the efficiency of the “i”’s 64bhp, 660cc turbo engine and the practical advantages of its rear-mid-engined configuration.

The decision to import the “i” follows an extensive feasibility study. Jim Tyrrell, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors UK stated: “We displayed the “i” at Badminton Horse Trials, the British Motor Show and at a number of key dealerships around the country and the public reaction was wholly positive. The “i” has already become a cult car in Japan and we’re confident that its space and sophistication, coupled with Mitsubishi’s reputation for quality and reliability, will also make it a hit in the UK.”

The “i” will be sold through selected Mitsubishi dealers with an initial availability of just 300 units. With deposits already being placed, the “i” may well have already attracted a small following of its own here in the UK.

THE CONCEPT

“i” is a play on the Japanese word “ai” meaning love, which emphasises the car’s people and eco-friendly properties. It is also designed to be intelligent, innovative and imaginative.

Mitsubishi’s feasibility study suggests the “i” will appeal to a wide range of people. While the younger style-conscious buyer appreciates its distinctive image and technology; older customers are attracted by its practicality, reliability and ease-of-use.

ONE HIGHLY-SPECIFIED MODEL

Just one highly-specified version of the “i” will be offered in the UK. Designed as an innovative premium small car, standard equipment will include automatic transmission, climate control, a six-speaker stereo with CD player, front and rear electric windows and electrically operated and folding door mirrors.

THE ENGINE

The “i” is powered by an all-alloy, 660cc three-cylinder petrol engine that combines a turbocharger and intercooler with MIVEC variable valve timing. The engine delivers 64bhp at 6000rpm and 69lb ft (93Nm) of torque at 3000rpm, helping the “i” accelerate from 0 to 50mph in 11.2sec and reach a top speed of around 90mph. Drive is to the rear wheels via an INVECS-II 4-speed automatic transmission, which helps reduce the stress of city driving.

THE DYNAMICS

The “i” employs a unique, aluminium space-frame chassis, which is both lightweight and exceptionally strong. This has benefits for both occupant protection and the performance of the suspension, which consists of MacPherson struts at the front and a 3-link De Dion system at the rear. The long wheelbase and near-perfect weight distribution has enabled the engineers to combine a comfortable ride quality with nippy handling. A tiny turning radius of 4.5m is also a major boon in the city.

EXTERIOR STYLE

The “i”’s futuristic styling capitalises on its rear-mid-engined configuration. It was designed at Mitsubishi’s design studio in Tokyo and its distinctive, one-box shape maximises cabin space. It’s neat, practical and appealing.

Unusual dimensions lend it a key advantage in the cut-and-thrust of city driving. The “i” is 155mm narrower than the Peugeot 107, helping it to squeeze through gaps in the traffic that would normally be reserved for a motorbike. It is also shorter than its key rivals, but the wheel-at-each corner proportions deliver a wheelbase that’s longer than a full-size supermini. This has advantages for both passenger accommodation and driving dynamics.

The success of Mitsubishi’s design has been recognised in Japan at the highest level with “i” not only taking a ‘Good Design Gold Prize’ but also beating over 2,000 entries to secure the overall Grand Prize for 2006 in the highly-prestigious Japanese Good Design Awards. The “i” is the first minicar to win this prize which is given to the most outstanding entry among all categories.

INTERIOR PRACTICALITY

The cabin highlights the benefits of a rear-mid-engined configuration by providing ample space for four adults and their luggage. Head room is particularly generous and the simple, high quality fascia contributes to the feeling of comfort. There’s also plenty of storage space and the rear seat back splits and folds to allow larger objects to be carried.

The “i” is the first Japanese car to use Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified hypoallergenic seat fabric. Working in combination with a deodorant roof lining and a clean air filter for the standard automatic air conditioning, this fabric helps purify the cabin. This is of major benefit to allergy sufferers.

HIGH LEVEL OF ACTIVE AND PASSIVE SAFETY

The standard ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) helps the driver avoid an accident, but should the worst happen, occupants are protected by twin front airbags and a sophisticated survival cell. ISOFIX child seat mounting points and anti-trap electric windows help safeguard the next generation, while an innovative energy-absorbing wiper pivot under the bonnet reduces the risk of injury to a pedestrian.

AWARDS

* The “I” has secured a number of high profile awards in Japan, including:
* RJC Car of the Year 2007 – voted for by the Automotive Researchers & Journalists of Japan (RJC)
* “Most Advanced Technology” Special Achievement Award – voted for by Japan’s Executive Committee of the Car of the Year awards
* Good Design Gold Prize for 2006 – Japanese Good Design Awards
* Good Design Grand Prize 2006 – Japanese Good Design Awards

Click picture below for Mitsubishi "i" photo gallery


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Mitsubishi Motors R & D of America Announces New Design and Engineering Team

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February 16, 2007 -- Ann Arbor, Michigan --
Mitsubishi Motors R & D of America (MRDA) today announced changes to the team that will build upon the success of the recently launched Outlander crossover SUV and the soon-to-hit-showrooms 2008 Lancer sedan.

Masato Suwaki has been named to temporarily oversee the North America design activities for Mitsubishi Motors. He is the Senior Vice President for Company Strategy for Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA), where he is responsible for the overall strategic planning for future Mitsubishi vehicles manufactured in North America. From 1997-1999 Mr. Suwaki served as Executive Vice President for Mitsubishi Motors R&D Europe (MRDE). He served as MRDA's President from 2003-2004. From 1972-1997, Mr. Suwaki worked in the Body Design Department, Car Research & Development Center of MMC where he was charged with the design and development of automotive body design and served as General Manager.

MRDA will name a new General Manager of Design later this year.

Dave O'Connell, a 23-year veteran of MRDA has been promoted to Chief Designer. O'Connell joined Mitsubishi Motors in 1984. Since that time he has worked in all aspects of vehicle design. He currently has administration and management responsibility for MRDA designers.

Suwaki replaces Dan Sims, General Manager of Design, who resigned to accept a position with Proctor & Gamble as Associate Director, Design AAI, in charge of design activities in the Southeast Asian region including ASEAN countries, Australia, New Zealand and India.

"We appreciate the expertise Dan has shown in designing various Mitsubishi models including the Eclipse, Spyder, Galant and Endeavor," said MRDA President Shinichiro Koiwai. "We wish him great success as he enters the global design arena."

Sims said, "I have enjoyed and value my relationship with Mitsubishi that spans 23 years. It is difficult to leave a brand and industry I know and love, particularly as the turn around we have worked so hard to achieve is gaining traction and showing results. However, a tremendous opportunity for a unique global experience in a high-growth region with personal growth potential for my family and me was difficult to pass up. I wish Mitsubishi all the success in the future and will continue to support and believe in the brand."

-MMNA

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Gigi Galli's Citroen Xsara WRC

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Gigi Galli's Citroen Xsara WRC prepared by Aimont Racing Team with technical supervision from PH Sport. Pirelli will sponsor the tires for the first 2 of 8 rallies.

My personal congratulations to Gigi and Giovanni for a great program this 2007. Good luck. Aim for another podium! -rcpax




Mitsubishi Motors at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show

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- Yesterday – Today - Tomorrow -
Celebrating 90 years of creative engineering
Introducing the full Outlander line-up
Previewing next generation Lancer Evolution



A few weeks after the successful world premiere of the Lancer sports sedan at the Detroit Motor Show, the 2007 Geneva will be another occasion for celebration at Mitsubishi Motors.

From March 6th to March 18th in Geneva, the automotive arm of the Mitsubishi group of companies will demonstrate how vision took it to car production exactly 90 years ago with Model-A in 1917, how its talent for engineering continues today bringing to the market innovative solutions like those proposed by the all-new Outlander and ultimately, how such a commitment will continue to fuel the passion with red-hot Prototype-X.
Yesterday with Model-A

The Mitsubishi Motors stand at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show will be graced by a very red machine – an exact replica of the 1917 Model-A - but of a very different nature than the expected Lancer Evolution… Different, but sharing the same culture over the last 90 years.

The history of Mitsubishi Motors as an automobile manufacturer began long before the Motor Vehicle Division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. was incorporated as “Mitsubishi Motors Corporation” in 1970 and even longer before its return to the Mitsubishi family in 2004.

Mitsubishi’s first vehicle was Model-A, Japan’s first attempt at series production of passenger cars which rolled off the line in August 1917. After a 4-year run, production of Model-A’s was stopped in 1921 when aircraft manufacturing took precedence over cars at Mitsubishi. No matter what, this vehicle was then a pioneer and Mitsubishi has been an innovator ever since.

In these early years, the cars were manufactured by the ship and aircraft building arm of Mitsubishi. Therein lies the origin of Mitsubishi Motors’ dedication to creative engineering and resultant reputation for precision, reliability, quality and all-round performance of its vehicles, on-road, off-road, touring or racing.
Today with Outlander

Backed by these 90 years of in-house engineering expertise but also 70 years of 4x4 technology and 45 years of motor sports success, the new Outlander is a very legitimate SUV, challenging an increasingly crowded and predictable segment with design, technology and features to suit.

Leaving the role of authentic off-roader to the next generation Pajero, Outlander is a no-compromise solution for a different type of recreational vehicle. Using the in-built adaptability of MMC’s all-new global platform (see below), it brings passenger car-like levels of active safety and driving pleasure, thanks to its All Wheel Control drive-train, 4-wheel independent suspension, high performance brakes and low center of gravity. The latter is helped by an aluminium roof panel, using a technology tested with the Lancer Evolution IX.

Clearly inspired by the Pajero Evo 2+2 concept presented, Outlander’s front design blends into the muscular fenders with flared wheel arches and sharp lines, leaving no doubt about its character and dynamic abilities.

More so, in its Outlander V6-Concept livery (matt metallic grey with white roof and white accents) similar to that of Pajero Evo 2+2, Mitsubishi Motors’ “desert GT” presented exactly 5 years ago at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show.

Appropriately dressed, this show car version of a potential more potent Outlander will showcase Mitsubishi Motors’ all-new 3.0 l V6 MIVEC engine. Market conditions and customers’ feedback permitting, it could be launched at a later stage in Europe (4).

This variant could then top a full range of Outlanders including:
- 2.0 Diesel pump-jet - 140 ps and 310 Nm - launched during the first quarter of 2007 (1).
- 2.2 Diesel common rail* – 156 ps and 380 Nm - to be launched end of 2007 (2).
- 2.4 l Petrol* - 170 ps and 226 Nm - to be launched during the fourth quarter of 2007 (3).
- 3.0 l Petrol* - 220 ps and 276 Nm, under study (4).

(1) VAG-sourced
(2) PSA Peugeot Citroën-sourced
(3) Mitsubishi Motors’ own
(4) Mitsubishi Motors’ own. Already available in the US, as well as in Euro-3 form in Russia and in the Ukraine.

* All data subject to final homologation.
Tomorrow with Prototype-X

With cars like Outlander, the next generation Pajero or the 2007 Dakar-winning Pajero Evo, the flame is very much alive at MMC’s Okazaki R&D facilities in Japan as well as around the world for all Mitsubishi designers and engineers.

Ninety years after Model-A, it powers the Company through all its endeavors, such as “Project Global”, MMC’s new global platform and its most ambitious automotive project ever.

Previewed in October 2005 when the new Outlander was launched in Japan, this 3-million car global platform will be fully deployed from 2007 onwards through the launch of a new family of C-segment sedans (Lancer sports sedan and its derivatives) which share their stunning design language with the much-acclaimed 2005 Concept-X and Concept-Sportback concept cars.

With this platform, Mitsubishi Motors confirms its strategic decision to focus its product development over a limited number of intelligent platforms (from 14 to 6), i.e.: with the built-in flexibility needed to accommodate regional needs and regulations as well as market trends and new customer demands.

“Project Global” will also be the next best tool to fuel the passion and in Geneva like in Detroit, Mitsubishi Motors will hint at the next generation of its iconic “super-car”, the much anticipated and all-new Lancer Evolution through the Prototype-X show car.

Prototype-X will also demonstrate to the European public the depth and breadth of the forthcoming Lancer sports sedan family, ranging from entry model (1.5 l in Europe) right up to the all-new Lancer Evolution, the range topping “super-car”.

As Prototype-X indicates, Lancer Evolution will soon make perhaps the largest leap in overall capability seen between two generations of this model. The next Lancer Evolution will offer major gains in handling dynamics and technology while maintaining the kind of thrilling turbo engine performance that has made the model a legend around the world. This will start with a turbocharged version of the all-new aluminum 4B11 2.0-liter DOHC MIVEC powerplant used in the 2008 Lancer sports sedan, yielding the highest power rating ever in a Lancer Evolution model. Stay tuned…

Mitsubishi Motors’s press conference will take place at 10h30 on March 6th, 2007 on its stand at Palexpo exhibition center.

Note: “Pajero” is “Montero” in Spain and “Shogun” in the UK.

Gallery:


Mitsubishi Outlander Concept (EU/UK)


Mitsubishi Outlander Concept (EU/UK)


Mitsubishi Outlander Concept (EU/UK)


Mitsubishi Prototype-X


Mitsubishi Prototype-X


Mitsubishi Prototype-X


Mitsubishi Prototype-X interior

-Mitsubishi Motors