After being named Greenest Car of 2012 the i-MiEV was not even mentioned in the 2013 list or press release "due to anticipated low sales volumes", yet they list the compliance-cars Fit and Focus.
Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies- time for some letters to the editor!
Maybe - but letters to MMNA would be more to the point. Don't get me wrong, I am so happy that unlike actual compliance cars, the i-MiEV wound up for sale nationwide, so I was able to get my hands on one in lil' ol' Albuquerque (where the Prius Plug-In is still
nowhere to be seen). But the reality is that selling less than 800 cars all year through that nationwide distribution is beyond pathetic - those are below
compliance-car volumes, after all. That's why, given the bare facts, my gripe is less with the Greenest Car editors and more with MMNA execs.
I still don't understand why Mitsu did so little to announce the existence of this car (notice I don't even say "promote"). The only ads they ever ran were those little Normal EVtown spots, which never named the car, never mentioned its price, didn't even indicate that it was available for sale beyond some oddball test market in Illinois (watch those ads again - that's exactly
the impression it creates).
If this wasn't a compliance car, I'm not sure what Mitsubishi was trying to accomplish. The most credible story I've heard so far is that Nissan set the U.S. price for the Leaf lower than Mitsubishi had expected, and they were stuck at the end of an expensive development program with a less appealing car that cost so much to build that they couldn't sell it profitably at a competitive price. In other words, they had to sell 'em at a loss to sell 'em, and they sure weren't going to spend advertising dollars trying to boost those
transactions. While I sort of understand that story, it doesn't jive with later statements that they were "disappointed" by sales and had to "re-think" their electrification plans; at the end of the day, I think the "losing money" story is close to the truth and their more recent statements are part of some scripted performance justifying actions planned long ago. That's the real
self-fulfilling prophecy. We should probably count ourselves lucky that we wound up getting our neat little 'lectro-buggies at a price subsidized at so many levels.