Sales of Mitsubishi Electric Kei Vehicles Continue to Follow a Downward Path

4 years ago by Mark Kane 17

i-MiEV

i-MiEV

Mitsubishi Minicab i-MiEV

Mitsubishi Minicab i-MiEV

After the first eight months of 2013, sales of Mitsubishi’s electric kei vehicles are well behind 2012 results in Japan.

The Japanese manufacturer sold only 1,169 i-MiEVs, which is close to a 30% drop compared to 2012.

The commercial delivery vehicle, Minicab-MiEV, is loosing ground too with 1,080 copies sold so far this year or over 40% less than in 2012.

The small electric truck version of the Minicab-MiEV is above 2012 levels, but only because sales started this year.  The YTD total for this one is 548 sales.

In total, YTD sales of Mitsubishi’s electric keis fell to 2,797 from 3,524 after the first 8 months of 2012.  This represents almost a 21% drop.

In the US, without heavy discounts (or any new inventory), i-MiEV sales have been below 50 a month for three months in a row.

In Europe, Mitsubishi ended its cooperation with PSA to sell i-MiEVs rebadged as Peugeot iOns and Citroen C-Zeros due to low sales.

None of this looks promising for the first series production electric vehicle sold on the global level.

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17 responses to "Sales of Mitsubishi Electric Kei Vehicles Continue to Follow a Downward Path"

  1. David Murray says:

    No surprise there. I mean geez. If the i-Miev were the only plug-in on the market I’d probably buy one. But now that there are so many better choices it is literally the LAST one I’d buy. I’d rather have just about any plug-in car over that one, even the Plug-in Prius.

    1. Rick Danger says:

      David said: ” I’d rather have just about any plug-in car over that one, even the Plug-in Prius.”

      Wellll, I wouldn’t go that far, but yeah, DUH! The i-MIEV needs a complete redesign. They might want to use Western designers this time for the body styling.

  2. Priusmaniac says:

    I never bought that one neither. Now that the Model S is around, I don’t see much future for refurbished golf carts anymore.

    1. kdawg says:

      See post below. The small ones are nice for crowded situations and dense cities in general.

    2. Suprise Cat says:

      95% of the worlds population is not able to afford a Model S.

      1. Vin says:

        … and from those of us that can afford a Model S, I’m guessing that 95% of us don’t buy one simply because after doing the analysis, we find it doesn’t save us any money, that in fact it costs more to go electric with a Model S than anything else out there. So we choose to stay in with our ICE vehicles, or as in my case, we go with the next best thing out there, i.e. FFE, Volt, or Leaf SL.

      2. Dan Gallagher says:

        You mean 99.9%. The Tesla is a rich man’s toy (sorry for those of you who have one who don’t consider yourself rich, but it is). Even the iMiev is not for the common person, yet. You have to have some pretty fortunate circumstances to be able to own and operate an EV in our society today.

        The reason the iMiev didn’t succeed so far (no, it’s not because of biased “golf cart” comments from people like Priusmaniac) is that gasoline based transportation is too cheap. We subsidize it, support it militarily, and ignore the negative costs of using it. If the price of gasoline were to include those hidden costs then we’d see a transformation in how we use personal vehicles; small vehicles would be viewed as a necessity not a punishment. I don’t know how well EVs would do in general with higher gas prices, as they too would be forced to compete for energy as demand shifts. But I do know it would be better to have a more efficient vehicle like the iMiev.

        1. Spec says:

          Well that may be true on a world-wide perspective. But in the USA, the average new car sells for around $30K. There are plenty of EVs available for less that $30K these days. And with incentives, some are even available for less than $20K! (Spark EV and Smart ED)

          1. Rick Danger says:

            Make that just the Smart ED. You can only buy the Spark EV in 2 out of 50 states. Those who live in the other 48 wouldn’t consider the Spark “available”.

            1. kdawg says:

              I did see one driving in Michigan (not manufacturers plate). I also have a co-worker here who is looking into getting one.

              1. Rick Danger says:

                Looking to get one from his local Chevy dealer?????

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          Ok gasoline and diesel vehicles are subsidized but the i-miev doesn’t even look like a car. An EV system is fantastic but why make it look like that and why make it so small that you don’t even have crumple zones in the front and back in case of an accident. An EV need to have a normal shape and size regardless of its EV propulsion. Now the Model S is expensive OK but the Leaf is already more realistic and there is room left between a Model S and a Leaf. The i-miev is completely out of the car world and has been giving a very damageable image of the electric vehicle that made it lose yet another decade before real EV cars get on the market.

  3. kdawg says:

    Vatican City likes them. Took these pics on Tuesday. I don’t know if it was a 2012 or a 2013 (is there any difference?)

  4. Vin says:

    Are sales of comparable ICE vehicles on a downward spiral also? If so, I think this sales trend for the electric Kei cars would be expected….

    1. Suprise Cat says:

      Kei Car sales are booming in Japan, already sold 1.4 million ytd.

  5. Spec says:

    I think the Mitsubishi-i (AKA i-MiEV) was a very interesting car when it was first released. It was the first EV available for less than $30K and after incentives that pushed it down to around a mere $20K in California.

    However, it was always a very compromised vehicle with its small 16KWH battery that gave it an EPA rating of only 62 miles. It only seats 4. And it is very small. With so many cheaper and/or better alternatives now like the Leaf S, Fiat 500e, Smart ED, and Spark EV, this car is just no longer competitive. They need to slash the price, sell off remaining stock, and build something better.

  6. offib says:

    I do like the iMiev. It’s weirdly cool, yes, cool looking. I find it as that stupid underdog that could scare other drivers at the lights (which I have seen a C-Zero do). The only thing the i-Miev, C-Zero and i-On have going for themselves is their compatibility of CHAdeMO. That’s good if you live in a country where theres an extensive and well laid out Rapid Charging network (Estonia, Ireland, Japan).
    That’s it. That’s the only advantage it has which the Nissan LEAF also has. I couldn’t find any good reasons to choose an i-Miev now over the new Nissan LEAF. The i-Miev is behind the curve on ever aspect compared to the LEAF from price to efficiency. The only thing the iMiev can hold above the LEAF is its smaller size and driving visibility.

    The i-Miev and so on to me is old hat. This is offering the same technology we’ve been seeing since 2009. Nissan has the cop’ on on making a LEAF 2.0, VW is basically copying the 2009 technology standard, that’ll be a predictable laugh.

    Mitsubishi, in my opinion made an electric i as their petrol equivalent car’s sales in its own Japan were already slowing rapidly by its third year of production, then comes along the iMiev to continue making on the chassis and making it affordable. It has Now we’re here today.
    Mitsubishi’s only hopes left would be to get the Outlander PHEV out ASAFP,! That and copy Nissan’s actions by building a much more improved i-Miev abroad from Japan and its expensive Yen, possibly in its Normal, IL plant.

    Hopefully, Mitsubishi i-Miev won’t end up forgotten and end up as Coda, which was never even noticed to begin with! It would be greatly upsetting to see one of the pioneers of what started an EV revolution to fail.

    2009 guys, back then the iMiev was made of dreams, drooled and hyped over. Now in contrast of more and more auto manufacturers getting in on the EV game, the iMiev still appears to be living in 2009.