TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will show a sedan version of its Mirage hatchback compact car to visitors from North America this month in Thailand, to gauge prospects for exporting the car to America.
The sedan variant has entered production at Mitsubishi's Laem Chabang plant and goes on sale in July in Thailand. The plant makes the Mirage hatchback for Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe and Japan.
Mitsubishi will export the Mirage hatchback to the United States this fall and is considering whether to sell the sedan version there as well, a person familiar with the plan says.
One concern is whether American drivers will accept the sedan's relatively small three-cylinder 1.2-liter engine, the person said. The sedan is slightly heavier than the hatchback, giving it a more sluggish power-to-weight ratio.
The layout of the Thailand-made car -- both hatchback and sedan -- rules out swapping the engine for a larger one. A larger engine would put the Mirage and its sedan in line with offerings from competitors with engines in the 1.4- to 1.6-liter range.
Mitsubishi says its cars can get better fuel economy and acceleration than rivals with bigger engines because the sedan and hatch weigh less than other segment offerings.
The Japanese carmaker aims to show the sedan version in Thailand this month to see whether its performance matches American tastes.
In Thailand, the sedan version of the Mirage will be sold under the name Attrage. The car achieves fuel economy of 22 kilometers per liter, or 52 mpg, under the New European Driving Cycle. That measurement does not convert directly into U.S. fuel economy standards, and the EPA has not yet rated the car.