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The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution might be the Japanese brand’s highest performance model but the most recognizable model it’s produced over the past several decades is easily the Eclipse. Axed from the company’s lineup this year the Eclipse could return admits Greg Adams, Mitsubishi Motors North America VP of marketing.
Of the two, don’t look for the Eclipse to return any time soon, with Adams commenting that sporty cars in this category have peaked. So far this year sales are up by 105.4 percent, although at 6,721 units that’s just a fraction of the car’s all time sales high of over 72,000 units in 2002. In total, the car has accounted for just shy of one million units over its lifetime.
The Eclipse was axed this year along with the Endeavor SUV and Galant mid-size sedan when the automaker announced plans to close its plant in Normal, Illinois. While having a mid-size sedan on offer in North America seems like a no-brainer, Adams says that for the most part demand for such cars is limited to North America. “If we can make the numbers work between this market and other markets, we need to take a look at it,” he said.
Adams did not comment on any possible product sharing arrangement with Nissan. The two Japanese automakers did sign an agreement last year to work together on development of mini-cars, and most recently announced that in Japan Mitsubishi would sell a rebadged version of the Infiniti M.
With larger vehicles axed from the brand’s lineup, Mitsubishi is continuing on with its Lancer and Outlander models and has added the Outlander Sport crossover over the past year with a goal of reaching the 100,000 sales mark. So far this year North American sales have reach just over 60,000 units, a 65% increase and a sign of a brighter future for Mitsubishi.
GALLERY: Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
Mitsubishi is killing both its Endeavor crossover and Eclipse coupe and convertible due to slow sales, with both vehicles scheduled to die off in August.
The Endeavor never found much love amongst car buyers, but the Eclipse has a long history in the performance car segment, even if its moved further away from its original formula with each generation. Mitsubishi also announced the end of their famous Lancer Evolution sports car, and will eventually trim their model lineup to the Lancer, Outlander, Outlander Sport and Galant. Mitsubishi will also introduce the all electric i in limited numbers in late 2011.