Mitsubishi Motors is planning a mini low-cost world car for 2010, based on the company's mini car platform. The new car will initially be geared toward Europe, China or Southeast Asia.
The company plans to simply export its Japanese-spec mini car, albeit with a bigger engine and more equipment.
By Japanese law, mini cars are limited to having engines no bigger than 660cc and dimensions no more than 3.41 metres long and 1.52 metres wide. They are hugely popular in Japan (1/3 of all new-car sales), partially as a result of government tax breaks, low price tags and more importantly, their excellent fuel efficiency.
The key for Mitsubishi will be building more flexibility into the design so it can easily be sold outside Japan.
" Mini cars are a weakness in one way, because unique area strategy cars are no longer valid," Masuko said. " We can make that a strength if we can use it as a base for a worldwide model."
Mitsubishi's current small car is the Colt but the new mini car will be a whole grade smaller and be driven via the rear-wheels.