labels: passenger cars, hindustan motors, automotive
HM Mitsubishi to launch new models in India news
12 August 2005

HM Mitsubishi is putting more wheels on the Indian roads, across categories. Mohini Bhatnagar reports.

New Delhi: Mitsubishi Motors of Japan, in partnership with Hindustan Motors, is planning to launch a number of models in India over the next few months.

The models likely to hit Indian roads are the C++ segment Lancer Cedia, the sports utility vehicle (SUV) Montero, the mini SUV, Mitsubishi Outlander, and the crossover vehicle the Mitsubishi Grandis.

According to the company the models will initially be brought in as completely built units (CBUs) while the Cedia might be assembled at the company''s plant in Chennai.

At present HM Mitsubishi offers only two cars in India — the ''C'' segment Lancer, a sedan, and the high-end Pajero, a sports utility vehicle. The Lancer, once a high-selling model has been facing intense competition. This is despite the company making efforts to introduce new attractive variants such as the manomatic variant introduced last year.

While all the new vehicles are limited volume, high-end products, the company expects them to compete more effectively in the competitive Indian market.

Lancer Cedia

The Cedia is likely to brought in a completely knocked down (CKD) format into the market in the next four months while the Montero will be introduced in the first quarter of 2006.

The C++ segment Lancer Cedia will be positioned against the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra and Skoda Auto and is likely to be priced in the Rs9 lakh to Rs11-lakhrange. Equipped with a 2000cc inline-four engine that features a busy, four-valves per cylinder, the Cedia can develop 125bhp at 5500 revs and 17.64 kgm of torque at 4250 rpm. It also comes with an ABS brake system and will be equipped with airbags for the driver and front passenger.

The most interesting part about the Cedia is that it is likely to feature interiors from the Evo Lancer and would have a premium beige tone with fake wood strewn in. This new model is around 10cm longer than the existing Lancer variant selling in the Indian market. The only negative is said to be the Cedia''s cramped booth.

Montero

The Mitsubishi Montero is built along the lines of the traditionally rugged and heavy sports utility vehicles. Likely to be in the same segment as the Toyota Landcruiser and the Pajero the Montero comes equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that generates 215hp and 248lb-ft of torque in the US. The Montero combines safety features such as antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and a stability control system. The company offers side airbags for the front occupants.

Outlander

While mini SUVs like Toyota''s RAV4, Honda''s CR-V and GM''s Forester were becoming a rage the world over, Mitsubishi was the last to come up with its mini SUV, the sporty Outlander.

The Outlander has been developed as the "next generation SUV which combines a flexible utility with the sporty style." Outlander main features like a new 2.4-liter engine with aluminum cylinder block; new platform with high crash safety and a new body and chassis that have technologies grown by the Lancer Evolution models.

The Outlander has a distinctive styling with a bold snout and clear-lens taillights. Just a tad longer and wider than the Forester the Outlander stands at the same height as the latter. Equipped with a four-cylinder engine for less weight and better fuel economy, it gives buyers a choice of front-or all-wheel-drive versions. The Mitsubishi Outlander comes with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 160 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Its four-speed automatic transmission with Sportronic allows manual gear changes by moving the shift lever into a separate gate. Outlanders can be had with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Grandis

Known as a multi purpose vehicle (MPV) in global markets, the Grandis in India would be more akin to the Ford Fusion.

Grandis is actually an upgraded version of the Mitsubishi Space Wagon. It is superior to the latter in all aspects like build quality, styling, refinement and use of interior space. The Grandis is equipped with a 2.4-litre petrol engine as well as 2.4-litre direct rail transmission diesel engine. Its gear lever is mounted on the dashboard which makes it easy to use.

Grandis is generally used for long distance trips with its refined cabin and quiet engine make it well suited to long distance driving. It is also roomy and spacious with three seating rows.

Safety features include ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), climate control, height adjustable driver''s seat with arm rest and a 17-inch alloy wheels and trip computer.

Mitsubishi is the only Japanese automotive company that is unprofitable. In India the Mitsubishi Lancer made a good beginning in the ''90s but its progress stalled in the 21st century, as the Indian market became more competitive. The introduction of the manomatic version last year did little to increase sales of the model. How the new models perform only time can tell.


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HM Mitsubishi to launch new models in India