Mitsubishi Mirage Continues Quiet Renaissance, Passes Chevy Spark for #1 in U.S. Sales

The highly unexpected second renaissance of the polarizing Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the few heartwarming stories of an otherwise very mixed bag in the year of the great microchip shortage. If the used car market drying up all its available reliable vehicle reserves helped anyone even slightly, it was Mitsubishi Motors and their underappreciated only remaining non SUV passenger car.
Mitsubishi Mirage 7 photos
Photo: Mitsubishi
2021 Mitsubishi Mirage2021 Mitsubishi Mirage2021 Mitsubishi Mirage2021 Mitsubishi MirageChevy SparkChevy Spark
Meanwhile, the Chevy Spark, the only cheap new car to be less well-received than the Mirage, saw a unit delivery sales decrease by 55 percent last month compared to the year before, losing its spot as the number one new Subcompact in America and formally seeing its thrown taken over by the struggling Mitsubishi Motors, a much-needed win for a company once thought to be on the verge of death.

What's even more notable about the Mirage vs. the Spark is the kind of ambitions the two models had when they were first launched. The Spark was supposed to be General Motor's modern-day answer to the Volkswagen Bug and the Ford Model T., i.e., affordable, high-tech transportation (for their respective periods) for the masses. But software bugs and recalls galore have seen its cutesy but reliable reputation permanently tarnished.

Meanwhile, the Mirage did no better to prove it was built to world-class quality standards. The difference is Mitsubishi never claimed the Mirage was any of those things. Sticking to marketing its class-leading non-hybrid fuel economy and world-class warranty as the Mirage's main selling points.

In the desperate chip-shortage-driven used-car shortage, these are qualities that made the Mirage a more sensible choice than a used car at the same price point, and even some that are cheaper. The prospects of not having to worry about a used car with a broken transmission become a dealbreaker when the only used cars left are mid-2000s American and Pacific rim trash that's bound to fall apart soon after you buy.

Everything online car critics have said about the Mirage, including Doug DeMuro's infamous thrashing of one a few years ago, is still as true as ever. But in a slowly emerging post-health crisis economy, it might be papa Doug that finds himself on the wrong side of history, assuming this unlikely comeback can sustain itself. At least for Q3 of 2021, it's Mitsubishi thats chalks up a badly needed win.
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