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No decision on reborn Mitsubishi FTO

Going it alone: Mitsubishi would not enter into a co-development deal to produce a new sportscar, unlike Toyota with Subaru and Mazda with Alfa Romeo.

Mitsubishi boss ‘would not say no’ to 86/BRZ rival, but business case comes first

23 Oct 2012

MITSUBISHI Motors global president Osamu Masuko has ruled out co-developing a sportscar with another manufacturer but “would not say no” to developing one in-house using a platform shared with other models – if the numbers added up.

Mr Masuko said at the Sydney motor show last week that Mitsubishi’s engineers are “very keen to make a sportscar”.

However, he joked that engineers “are very prone to investigate new technologies, but to use that technology they are not that good to actually bring big revenue and make money”.

Sportscars are seen as risky business financially, which is why Toyota and Subaru teamed up to create the 86/BRZ twins, while the next Mazda MX-5 and Alfa Romeo Spider will be co-developed.

Despite this, Mr Masuko said: “We are thinking that (co-development) is not the way. If we are to do it, we would like to do it ourselves.

“We have to identify if it is really feasible economically. We are thinking of just sharing one platform between various models and therefore would not say no to a small sportscar, but at the moment we have not really decided anything.”

21 center imageLeft: Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Mitsubishi currently sells the mid-size, front-drive Eclipse coupe and convertible in left-hand-drive markets such as North America, powered by four- and six-cylinder petrol engines and based on a platform used previously for the Australian 380 sedan.

The last time Mitsubishi sold a compact sportscar was the FTO, a front-drive coupe powered by a 2.0-litre V6 engine and available with semi-automatic transmission, built between 1994 and 2000.

Mitsubishi’s hi-tech, all-wheel-drive GTO (also known as 3000GT) was built between 1990 and 2001, serving as the company’s flagship, with naturally aspirated and twin-turbo V6 engines providing propulsion.

Since then, for most markets various iterations of the rally-bred Lancer Evolution have carried the can for Mitsubishi in terms of its performance offerings.

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