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Mitsubishi aiming to sell just 7,000 Mirages annually in U.S.

by Andrew Ganz

The Mitsubishi Mirage will nearly live up to its name.

Mitsubishi's new 74-horsepower subcompact hatchback won't be a common sight on American roads, the Japanese automaker says.

With sales expectations of just 7,000 units annually, the low volume and low profit margin Mirage will hardly be Mitsubishi's savior in the U.S., a market where Mitsubishi sells about a tenth as many cars now as it did a decade ago.

By comparison, Nissan and Chevrolet each sold more Versas and Sonics last month than Mitsubishi intends to sell Mirages in an entire calendar year.

Mitsubishi decided to market the Mirage based on feedback from its dealer body, which sought a less expensive car to lure buyers into showrooms. The Mirage reprises a retired nameplate in North America, although the new car set to hit the market later this year is quite a bit smaller than its predecessor.

In fact, the Mirage fills a void in the American market. Stretching about 149 inches from head to toe, it's about a foot shorter than most other compact cars. And, with just 74 ponies, the Mirage is also considerably less powerful. But Mitsubishi is banking on buyers being intrigued both by the Mirage's low price - $12,995 to start - and its industry-leading 44 mpg highway rating.

The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage hits dealers next month.

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