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by Tim Beissmann

Mitsubishi has paused production of the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn for French partner PSA Peugeot Citroen due to low demand for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV-based electric city cars.

US industry journal Automotive News reports just 935 C-Zeros and 852 iOns were sold in Europe in the first half of this year, well down on initial projections, forcing PSA to ask Mitsubishi to temporarily stop production.

Representatives from PSA and Mitsubishi insist the production halt is only temporary, but at this stage have not revealed when production of the cars will resume. Production of the i-MiEV is not affected by the change to the production schedule at Mitsubishi’s plant in Mizushima, Japan.

Just 28,000 i-MiEV, C-Zero and iOn EVs have been sold since 2009; a figure Mitsubishi admits is “lower than what we had originally hoped for”.

The i-MiEV is the only one of the electric triplets sold in Australia, and is likewise struggling for sales down under. Just 12 have been registered across the country so far this year – unsurprising given the car’s $48,800 starting price is around three times that of its petrol-powered city car competitors.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Motors Australia has confirmed none of the i-MiEVs sold locally are affected by a recall announced in the US relating to the car’s airbags.

Mitsubishi Motors North America has recalled 261 i-MiEVs built between November 4 and December 22, 2011 over an incompatibility between the airbag sensors and the self-diagnostic software that may deactivate the front and side airbags.

Mitsubishi Australia’s Caitlin Beale confirmed none of the vehicles it has sold in Australia were produced during the defective batch period.




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