latest automotive news, best new and used cars, find a new car 88bb5_14MY_imiev_12_3_13-610x407 Renault-Nissan Takeover Gives Mitsubishi a Chance to Dump Its Most Embarrassing Product Mitsubishi

After inking the deal that brought Mitsubishi Motors under his corporate umbrella, Nissan-Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn said the acquisition would have a “massive” impact on the struggling automaker.

By sharing the alliance’s technology, platforms and engines, Mitsubishi can look forward to a brighter, product-filled future, he claimed. Full integration is still years away, but a new report sheds some light on the first all-new product born of the $2.29 billion deal.

According to Nikkei (via Reuters), the alliance takeover means a new green vehicle for Mitsubishi. The newspaper claims the all-electric model will borrow the platform and powertrain of the next-generation Nissan Leaf.

That’s good news for Mitsubishi, as the company’s current electric car is anything but hot. Small, odd-looking, and sporting an estimated 59 miles of range, the diminutive i-MiEV hatchback can’t compete with the robust, long-range rivals entering the EV market. The model returns for 2017, just so Mitsubishi can keep an EV in its lineup.

If you’re thinking of scoring a $23,845 i-MiEV, expect to find yourself in a club with few members. Sales of the awkward EV totaled 91 units in the U.S. during the first 11 months of 2016. Mitsubishi sold five of them in November, four in October.

When we’ll see this new model is up for debate. Last week, Renault-Nissan announced that the next-generation Leaf and Renault Zoe would share the same platform, but the company wasn’t in the mood to discuss specifics. The alliance’s senor vice president, Arnaud Deboeuf, said the shared-platform EVs would appear sometime after the Leaf’s 2018 refresh. French newspaper Les Echos said the vehicles wouldn’t appear before 2020.

That timeline doesn’t exactly jibe with earlier reports, which hinted at a new, long-range Leaf arriving in 2018. The Nikkei report mentions the same date for the launch of the new EVs. Hopefully, we’ll hear official word at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show or North American International Auto Show.

According to Nikkei, by sharing a platform, motor, inverter and battery, the new Leaf should see its price drop by one-fifth. With these components on hand, Mitsubishi could sell a new, much longer-ranged vehicle at a competitive price point, and send the unloved i-MiEv behind the barn.

Whether or not the future Mitsubishi adopts the four-door hatchback bodystyle of its corporate siblings is another mystery. Automotive News speculates that the i-MiEV’s replacement could take on a crossover bodystyle.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

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