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by Jay Traugott
A total Eclipse? Mitsubishi says it doesn't have the cash (or the business case) on hand to develop a new sports coupe.
There was a time when Mitsubishi built sportscars that were truly fantastic instead of SUVs that not enough people are buying. Thanks to its past partnership with Chrysler, models like the 3000GT and Eclipse saw additional life under the Dodge, Eagle and Plymouth brands as well. But the '90s are behind us, and with it the Dodge Stealth/3000GT and the Eclipse/Talon/Laser. Today, the Japanese automaker has just one sporty model, the Lancer Evolution, and it's not even a coupe. But don't expect that to change anytime soon.
Despite it being a solid performer with outstanding handling, the sports coupe segment that Mitsubishi once competed in is not something it plans on delving back into anytime soon. According to Car Advice, Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuki stated at the Sydney Motor Show that despite company engineers' desire to build a Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86 fighter, a rear-wheel-drive sports coupe is not on the agenda. In other words, Mitsubishi will not join the likes of Nissan and even GM in its quest to build an affordable sports coupe. So what's holding Mitsubishi back?
In a word, money. As Masuki stated, "Our engineers are very prominent to investigate new technologies, but to use that technology they are not that good to bring the revenue or make money." Bottom line: Mitsubishi doesn't believe that such a coupe would be profitable. Masuki clarified that his company wants to use as few platforms as possible in order to produce as many models as it can while keeping costs down. A small sports coupe is something an automaker builds only when it has the business case, and with most of its lineup consistently outpaced by the competition, Mitsubishi can't afford to take any financial chances these days.