Codenamed the ‘global small’, production of the new compact is set to start in March 2012.
With a focus on affordability, fuel efficiency and compact design, the ‘global small’ will be MMC’s entry-level vehicle around the world, and will sit in the “1.0- to 1.2-litre class”.
Mitsubishi will export the vehicle to both emerging and developed markets – where downsizing is steadily become the number one priority.
The new factory (the company’s third in Thailand) will be built at the Laem Chabang Industrial Estate in Chonburi province, alongside the two already established.
Initial production capacity will be around 150,000 per year, with the potential to ramp up to 200,000 in the future. Around 3000 workers will be employed at the new plant.
The word is that Australia will definitely receive the vehicle – which will sit below the Colt in Mitsubishi’s small car line-up - sometime around 2012.
The ‘global small’ would be sized, priced and equipped to compete with the likes of the Holden Barina Spark, Suzuki Alto, and upcoming Korean imports, Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10.
Colt has always been a slow seller in Australia, with just 1080 sold in Australia in the first 11 months of 2010. Market leaders Hyundai Getz (1582) and Holden Barina (1367) sell more in one month than Colt manages for the year.
Despite this, Mitsubishi is intent on persevering with Colt, and recently updated the vehicle for Australia.