TOKYO -- In one month, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has taken 900 advance customer deposits for its i-MiEV electric vehicle.
The four-passenger car will go on sale next April in Japan. Mitsubishi began taking orders July 31.
Mitsubishi says it wants to sell about 6,000 i-MiEVs worldwide, including 5,000 in Japan, during the first year of sales. That comes to about 400 a month in Japan.
On Sept. 4, the car got an additional boost when France's PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA announced plans to rebadge the Mitsubishi-made car in Europe starting in fall 2010 and sell 25,000 vehicles a year. That nearly doubles Mitsubishi's own sales target. The Peugeot version will be called the iOn.
Boosting volume of the lithium ion battery-powered car will be crucial to bringing down the car's high sticker price.
In Japan, the i-MiEV will cost ¥4.38 million ($47,480). Buyers can qualify for a green-car subsidy of about $15,000 from the government.
Mitsubishi already is selling the i-MiEV to fleet customers in Japan and has filled orders for all of the 1,400 units it plans to deliver by March 2010. Mitsubishi says it expects sales to reach 15,000 units in the second full year of sales. By the fourth year, ending March 31, 2014, it plans to sell 30,000 units, most of them in Japan and Europe.
The company officially hasn't made a decision on selling the car in the United States, but U.S. sources say it is penciled in for 2012.
Including the sales to PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, volume within five years is projected to reach 55,000 a year.