TOKYO — The world car is back, and it's at Mitsubishi.
Mitsubishi's product team is now locking down plans for the next-generation Galant. The idea is to build essentially one compact body model for worldwide sale and source it exclusively out of the U.S. That's according to a recent story in one of Japan's top industry newspapers.
Mitsubishi right now is producing two Galants. One, a large body model designed in California and built in Mitsubishi's Normal, Illinois, plant. The second, a much older, narrow body car, for Japan, Asia and Europe. Production of this latter model will end soon for Japan, the paper says, but will continue on for hot markets for Mitsubishi such as Russia and the Middle East.
Mitsubishi's reported idea is to relaunch the Galant in 2008 as a smaller-body world car, with the U.S. plant making both right- and left-hand-drive models for the U.S. domestic market and export.
A Mitsubishi spokesman in Tokyo refused to confirm the report. The current U.S. Galant launched at the 2003 New York Auto Show as a 2004 model. By 2008 (as a 2009 model), yes, the time would then be ripe for a redesign.
What this means to you: Mitsubishi has scored big with the compact, superfast Lancer Evolution . Maybe some of that DNA, in a smaller-than-now body, could be a hot ticket for the Galant in the U.S. market.