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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mitsubishi to Reduce Price on MiEV in response to Leaf

In an immediate response to Nissan's price announcement for the Leaf electric car, Mitsubishi Motors Corp said today that it will lower the $48,800 suggested retail price of the i-MiEVs its sells in Japan by about $6,700 starting Thursday.

The new price will be $42,130, and Japanese consumers will be able to buy the vehicle for $30,700 by taking advantage of government subsidies.

Nissan Motor Co. announced earlier today that its Leaf electric car, slated to debut in December, will carry a suggested retail price of $40,600, which drops to $32,300 with government subsidies.

Mitsubishi began sales of the i-MiEV in Japan last July to mainly corporate clients, with retail sales to get into full gear Thursday. It plans to make the i-MiEV available in the U.S. starting April of next year.

Some experts point out that the carmakers must lower prices further if they want to popularize electric vehicles, since the government subsidies will not last forever.

"For electric vehicles to really catch on, the actual cost for consumers needs to be 2 million yen or less," said Koji Endo, a managing director at Advanced Research Japan.

In addition, buyers need to wait three to six months to receive the subsidies after filing their applications, according to the entity that handles such payments. So, with tax, consumers need to pay more than $43,000 up front

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