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Mitsubishi's All-New Sporty '380' Sedan Launched

28 September, 2005

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Powerful, Stylish, Large, Agile

Mitsubishi’s sporty and powerful, all-new large sedan – the Mitsubishi 380 – has been launched in to the Australian Large Sedan market today.

A result of the most exhaustive research ever undertaken by MMAL, the 380 has been designed with two clear goals in mind - to be the best quality car ever built in Australia, and to redefine large car agility by designing a car for Australians.

Mitsubishi has undertaken a massive investment program of over $600 million, and has undertaken exhaustive engineering and testing here and overseas. This, coupled with the use of worldwide expertise both within the global Mitsubishi group and world best practice suppliers from around the globe, has seen the development of a new large car that truly reflects the needs of the Australian buying public. These needsare best categorised under the following five main buying motives:
- true large car power and performance,
- sporty styling,
- outstanding value for money,
- large car space and comfort,
- world class quality and refinement.

(1) True large car power and performance
Powered by a responsive and sweet-sounding 3.8 litre 24-valve SOHC MPI V6 engine that develops a continuous 175kW power at 5250rpm, and 343Nm of torque at 4000rpm the ‘380’ has all the performance that Australian buyers require. It does all this with outstanding fuel economy, more like that find in a medium sedan.

The 3.8 litre engine has been specifically developed to provide the power and torque demanded by Australian drivers – be it for covering the long distances between remote towns effortlessly, or for towing loads – and uses a number of components developed for the Ralliart Magna in early 2002. It is the first Australian manufactured car to be Euro3 compliant, and it also meets the new, more stringent drive-by noise regulations.

The engine management system uses an innovative “torque demand” system that was collaboratively developed between Mitsubishi and Robert Bosch and extensively tested in Australia, Japan, Germany and Switzerland.

Suspension
Understanding that outstanding handling and roadholding are all important, MMAL has developed a unique suspension system for the new 380, known as BOS (Body Optimised Suspension) system.. The BOS system is a fully independent suspension – a robust MacPherson strut with coil over and lower A-arm at the front and multi-link at the rear. Stabiliser bars are fitted front and rear, and the dampers have been specifically tuned to give a sporty and fun drive with high dynamic capabilities in line with the car’s positioning in the market.

The front suspension cross member is low and flat, but rigid and light, to allow the steering rack and tie rods to be close to the plane of the lower control arms to reduce bump steer and improve directional stability.

The rear suspension is a sophisticated low-mount, multi-link arrangement. The low profile positioning of the entire rear suspension – with its strategic location of coil springs, shock absorbers and links, and reduced mounting point height – helps to liberate more trunk space.

The rigid body that has twice the bending and torsional stiffness of Mitsubishi’s previous benchmark – the result mainly of refined structural design, a one-piece body side and assembly using the ‘Toy Tabs’ method – is the perfect platform to allow optimum tuning of the suspension components.

Transmissions are five-speed fully synchronised manual especially developed for the torque of the large six-cylinder engine, and a five-speed INVECS II ‘Smart Logic’ automatic with ‘Sports Mode’ sequential mode available across the range.

MMAL is the only local manufacturer to offer a 5-speed automatic transmission in its base model, and the extra ratio results in smoother driving, improved performance and fuel economy.

Ratios are:

Manual   Automatic  
1st 3.333 1st 3.789
2nd 2.105 2nd 2.162
3rd 1.407 3rd 1.421
4th 1.031 4th 1.000
5th 0.804 5th 0.686
Reverse 3.416 Reverse 3.117
Final Drive 4.111 Final Drive 3.325

Braking is provided by a large and specially developed braking package utilising Mitsubishi’s extensive rally experience. The front discs are 294 mm diameter ventilated discs with 2-pot calipers, while the rear are 284 mm diameter ventilated discs with 1-pot calipers. ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) optimises braking effort between front and rear, regardless of loading conditions and gentle or emergency stops. The brakes provide the driver with confidence for fade-free and sure stops over many applications.

The 380 uses 16” X 6.5” steel wheels fitted with 215/60R16 95H steel belted radials and full sized wheel covers.

The luxury LS variant comes with 16” X 6.5” six-spoke alloys fitted with 215/60R16 95H steel belted radials as standard, while the LX comes with a 17” X 7” six-spoke alloy wheel option that is fitted with 215/55R17 93V steel belted radials and sports suspension.

The sports variants – the VRX and GT – come fitted with 17” X 7” alloy wheels fitted with 215/55R17 93V steel belted radials. The VRX alloys are six-spoke, while the GT has unique eight-spoke alloys.

The rear underfloor of the Mitsubishi 380 has been specifically designed for Australia to take a full size spare wheel - which is stored under the cargo board - and serious towing equipment.

Loosely based on the American Galant, Mitsubishi re-engineered or re-designed 70% of the donor car to make sure that it fitted the needs of Australian motorists. This included completely making over the body to give extra strength and safety, and allow it to take the forces of a weight distribution hitch for towing.

(2) Sporty exterior styling
The Mitsubishi 380 has a unique Diamond Product Strategy that begins with the standard 380 sedan. The customer then has the choice of either of two luxury variants (LS and LX) or a sporty variant (VRX). The pinnacle of the range (the GT) combines all the features of both the luxury and sporty variants.

The four-door sedan has a coupe-like sporty style that gives the impression that the car is moving forwards even when it is standing still. The frontal treatment of the car is unique to Australia with new bonnet, front guards, grille and bumpers being designed for the Australian car. There are two treatments within the model range – one for the standard and luxury models 380, LS and LX), and one for the sporty and sporty luxury models (VRX and GT).

The grille for the standard / luxury models (380, LS and LX) has a three-bar horizontal treatment with the bright Mitsubishi three diamonds symbol floating in the middle. The luxury variant has bright barsgarnish to distinguish it. A character line is picked up from the point of the symbol and runs through the centre of the bonnet.

The under grille picks up the same shape as the main grille, and the luxury variants (LS and LX) have fog lamps in the lower bumper area.

The sporty and sporty/luxury variants (VRX and GT) use a mesh grille insert with the floating bright three diamond symbol, while the front bumper has a more aggressive appearance with a mesh lower grille insert and fog lamps as standard.

The headlamps are a modern triangular multi-parabola design with softer, rounded sides to blend with the overall frontal appearance. The enclosure contains the low and high beam lamps and the turning indicator.

The rear view of the car is distinguished by its gracefully tapering C-pillar and short rear deck that gives the 380 its sporty coupe looks, and belies the vehicle’s actual size.

The 380 is also characterised by the strong shoulder lines that start just aft of the A-pillars and continue the length of the vehicle. Viewed from the side, these shoulder lines flow upward toward the rear and help to create a sense of forward motion.

The 380, LS and LX models have the same rear tail lamp treatment, standard trunk lid with high mounted stop lamp fitted in the upper edge of the trunk lid, and rear bumper design. The VRX and GT variants have clear-type rear stop lamps and an integrated rear lip spoiler with high mounted stop lamp fitted in the spoiler. A unique, deeper rear bumper with a garnish insert is used on these models, with a large, oval chrome exhaust outlet for a more aggressive but sporty appearance.

The price line badging is fitted under the right rear tail lamp.

There is an exciting colour palette for the new 380. Of the nine colours, seven are new and include Mawson White, Platinum (silver), Vision (beige), Adrenaline (gold), Molten (3 coat red), Electro (bright blue), Blue Steel (dark blue), Storm (dark grey), and Storm (black). Each variant is available in six colours, with individual character colours being available within each range. Cutting-edge paint technology has been used to enhance the bold, angular lines of the car.

Inside, there is a different treatment for each price line.

The 380 has a black / black interior treatment with a modern, sophisticated interior ambience. The highlight panels feature a titanium-look.

The LS and LX models feature a black / beige treatment with woodgrain print highlight panels. The LS has cloth trim, while the LX has a stippled leather trim.

The sporty VRX has a black / black interior with silver mesh technical-look highlight panels, and sports-style seats. The top-of-the-line GT has a black / black interior with black woodgrain print highlight panels, and stippled black leather sports seats.

The instrument cluster has full instrumentation with a sporty appearance and at night the gauges, interior control knobs and switches are illuminated with striking ice-blue LED lamps that create a sophisticated and co-ordinated interior ambience.

(3) Outstanding value for money
The standard 380 has a 2-DIN AM/FM radio with CD and MP3 that plays through six speakers, while the other models have an integrated HVAC panel with an AM/FM radio with 6-CD in-dash stacker and MP3 compatibility that plays through eight high quality speakers. Class-leading air conditioning is automatic climate control in all models, and is ducted to the rear cabin.

Power driver’s seats are standard across the range. The 380 standard model has a 4-way power driver’s seat, while the VRX and LS have a 6-way power driver’s seat as standard. 380 GT and 380 LX have a 10-way power memory driver’s seat, and 6-way passenger’s seat as standard. They are optional on the LS model.

Other standard equipment includes remote keyless central locking with panic mode, engine immobiliser, power windows on all doors, power exterior mirrors, height adjustable power steering, EZ KOOL UV glass on all side and rear windows, and integrated radio antenna in the rear windscreen.

The 10-function trip computer is housed in the instrument cluster, and allows the driver to check average speed, instant fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, total fuel used, range to empty, travel time, total distance travelled, as well as also having a speed alert, rest reminder and service reminder.

Bluetooth capability is available across the entire 380 range. It is fitted as standard equipment on the 380 GT model and as a dealer fitted accessory on the 380, VRX, LS and LX models.

The 380 is packed with ample storage space, and with large front door pockets, 2 front and 2 rear cup holders, an ample glove box and convenient sunglasses holder, to always provide drivers with a storage location for everyday items.

The trunk of the 380 employs a newly designed trunk lid hinge, with gas springs for easy opening. The hinges do not intrude upon the cargo area, thereby allowing maximum use of the trunk space without any risk of luggage damage.

Safety
Mitsubishi’s comprehensive safety system approach begins with Mitsubishi’s RISE body construction that has been further enhanced with strengthening of the 380 body for Australian conditions to provide an occupant cocoon in the event of an accident. High performance braking system improves stopping distance by 14% and all pedals break away in the event of an accident. The 380 also has driver and passenger SRS air bags and side air bags as standard. The front seat belts are three-point with pre-tensioners and force limiters. The anchorage points are adjustable. Similarly, all positions in the rear have three-point ALR / ELR seat belts.

The high performance braking system improves 380’s stopping distance by 14%, and all of the foot pedals break away in the event of an accident to limit lower limb injury.

(4) Large car space and comfort
The cabin features wide comfortable seating and ample leg and shoulder room. 380 has arguably the most space efficient interior in its class, and has massive overall leg room. As part of the exhaustive Mitsubishi research 75% of consumers said the size of the car was “just right”.

Its body system, BOS suspension and noise supression materials all combine to provide superior ride comfort and noise and vibration levels not normally seen in Australian made cars.

(5) World class quality and refinement
To deliver class-leading ride and handling with outstanding fit and finish Mitsubishi has invested in many process improvements in manufacturing and engineering design. These changes cover outstanding body accurancy (single body side and Toy Tabs), quality parts and strictly controlled processes. All of these mean that the new Mitsubishi 380 comes with the Company’s industry-leading 5/10 warranty (5 years / 130,000 kms bumper-to-bumper and 10 years / 160,000 kms non-transferrable drivetrain).

1. INTRODUCTION

Australia is a large continent, with long distances between major populated destinations. Consequently, Australian consumers still largely require a car that will allow them to travel such distances easily, relatively inexpensively and comfortably. They want to arrive feeling refreshed, and without feeling that their pocket has been picked through high fuel usage and cost.

Because of these unique conditions Australians still prefer a large sedan as their favourite mode of transport – a car with the size, power and handling to traverse the often harsh conditions that can be encountered throughout our nation. And, it goes without saying that the car should represent good value for money.

Although other market segments may have grown, the large family sedan is still one of the most popular forms of transport in Australia. So, when Mitsubishi Motors Australia was looking for a successor car to build in Australia it made sense to find a vehicle that would ideally suit the needs of Australians wanting to purchase their favourite form of transport. But it couldn’t be a “me too” car, it had to be unique and take automotive manufacturing in this country to a new level.

After an exhaustive study the decision was made to take the US manufactured Galant, and adapt it to the needs of Australian consumers and conditions. That meant 70% of the American car was redesigned or re-engineered to provide a car that is ideal for Australians.

Mitsubishi’s 380 is arguably the most space efficient large car to come on to the Australian market, and it is powered by a large six-cylinder engine to gobble up the vast distances between remote towns. It is a completely different concept to the outgoing Magna and Verada range, as it is designed to capture the latest trend in large size sedans; the desire for fun, sporty and refined cars.

It has been made-over by a 30-year old fashion designer, so that it is modern and functional, and is packed with features that truly represents great value for money. It combines the attributes of large powerful cars with smaller, more sporty cars to carve out its own niche in the Australian automotive market.

2. STYLE AND PRODUCT – MARKETING

  • The first Australian-made four-door coupe.
  • The Mitsubishi 380 looks like it is moving when it is standing still

2.1 Market Conditions
2.1.1 Market size and Segmentation

The 380 competes primarily in the large sedan segment of the Australian Passenger Vehicle market. The medium passenger segment is also important for volume as the characteristics offered by these cars are well met by 380.

380’s primary competitors are the Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon, Toyota Camry and Toyota Avalon, with secondary competitors including Nissan Maxima, Mazda6 and Honda Accord.

2.1.2 Medium / Large sedan sales by yearly volumes

Since 1998 the medium / large sedan market in Australia had been falling. This reduction in sales coincided with the launch of the unsuccessful AU Ford Falcon, the slowing of sales by the Magna and Verada and increased leakage to the growing SUV segment. In 2003 with the release of the BA Ford Falcon the market showed some recovery, however 2004 was below 2003 levels.

The 2004 medium / large sedan market came in at 196,762 units (-7.3%). This is largely due to a reduction in sales of Ford Falcon (-10.3%) and Magna / Verada (-33.5%). Falcon sales loss is largely a result of cannibalisation of sales by the medium sized SUV Ford Territory, while Magna / Verada sales loss is largely due to vehicle age. This 2004 downward trend is not expected to continue (the above noted points are significant but one-off in nature). With the release of new models going forward and continued sound economic performance in Australia, the large car market is expected to grow at a stable rate in the future.

If fuel prices continue to increase the level of sales of large sedans may come under threat as potential customers may see substantial risk in purchasing a large sedan. However, MMAL research indicates that the long-term fuel price will remain stable despite some short term fluctuations. In fact, world oil prices in real terms are below levels experienced in previous oil shocks that saw large switches out of large passenger cars.

As can be clearly seen the locally manufactured vehicles dominate the medium/large sedan market, and any increase in market share for the 380 will require conquest volume. At the same time, given the broad appeal of the 380, some incremental growth in the segment could be expected.

Another important trend in the medium / large sedan market is the fall in the “others”. Back in the late 70s and early 80s Nissan manufactured the Bluebird and Skyline in Australia. These have been replaced by other imported models / marques many of which have failed to gain significant share. Notable exceptions are the Mazda6 sedan, which since its launch in August 2002 has sold on average 400 units per month, and the Honda Accord Euro has been even more successful, selling on average 790 units per month since its launch in June 2003.

The new Honda Accord V6 has accounted for around 270 units per month since September 2003.

2.1.3 Market shares in medium /large sedan market

Since the release of the VR model in 1993 Commodore has been the clear segment leader, but Magna / Verada was able to make conquest sales of Commodore with the release of the previous generation (TE / KE) in 1996. However, by 1998 growing rumours over the future of MMAL in Australia started to have the intitial impact on Magna’s market share.

Recent brand research has shown that the injection of more emotion into 380’s brand image, and the repositioning of the car in the market place will drive incremental sales in the future.

One of the major reasons for Commodore’s sales success was the launch of the AU Falcon, as its styling polarised customers. Consequently, many traditional Ford Falcon customers moved to Commodore at that time, but the launch of the BA Falcon in 2002 has reversed the trend.

For many years the classic battle was Falcon v Commodore and Magna/Verada v Camry/Vienta. Since the launch of Sigma in 1978, Mitsubishi has been able to consistently outsell the offerings from Toyota. MMAL has lost ground to Toyota since 1998 due to the continuing rumours, but expects to grab that back with the release of the new 380.

The only new locally made entrant in recent years, the Avalon, has had little impact in the market date, but this could change with the release of the new generation that is expected to be Toyota’s only offering to take on the six-cylinder market segment.

In 2004 both Commodore (-8.6%) and Falcon (-10.3%) have suffered losses in market share with Camry continuing to rise. Growth for Camry has come from both the 4 cylinder (+4.1%) and V6 (+6.0%) models.

The challenge for 380 is to recover lost ground, but research suggests there are enough “swinging” customers (those who are not “wedded” to the notion that the ONLY large car is a Commodore or a Falcon) for this to happen. Many potential customers have indicated that they are ready for a brand new model in the Australian market place.

2.2 CONSUMER PROFILE

2.2.1 Buyer Attitudes

Recent research by AustraliaScan indicates that sportiness has increased as a key emotional driver for consumers when making a decision to purchase a particular brand in today’s market. Quality, reliability, safety, performance, economy and value are all expected and are not necessarily drivers for choice. (Unless of course a vehicle falls below expected levels).

Two other important emotional drivers are “fun to drive’ and ‘prestige’. 380 is certainly designed to fit the ‘fun to drive’ emotion. Prestige comes not only from Brand image but also from such things as build quality.

These key emotional drivers indicate the consumer driven trend that has been growing within the passenger vehicle market in Australia. These very important trends have been taken into account in product decisions and the brand positioning for 380.

2.2.2 Customer purchase behaviour

Not only has research indicated that the key emotional drivers for purchase have changed but so has customers actual buying habits.

As the above chart shows the sports sub-segment has grown significantly since 1998, with even greater growth over the last 2 years.

2.2.3 380 positioning

As can be seen, 380 is to be positioned in a unique position from launch. It will not be positioned “head-to-head” with the Ford Falcon or the Holden Commodore.

The positioning moves for the major Australian players in the market are shown above, with a number of manufacturers moving to a more sporty positioning.

The most successful has been Mazda with the positioning of their Mazda6 range of sedans and hatches in the area of high sportiness. However, although Mazda6 is perceived as sporty it does not have the engine size and the interior/exterior space package to effectively compete.

380 however has the style, engine power and package size to capture the position shown above. We want the large car buying public to think of us as having the style of the Mazda6 coupled with the power and package size of a true large car.

The brand positioning statement for 380 is:

“A car for urban professionals who are looking for a sense of style and difference in a motor vehicle. A vehicle that breaks the mould of Australian derived vehicles and offers a unique blend of distinctive Euro inspired styling, with refinement and the heritage of rally bred technology and durability.”

The brand essence of agility is best encapsulated in the cheetah. It represents high levels of handling and control, which bring with it a safe and fully enjoyable driving experience.

“The world's fastest land mammal, the cheetah, is the most unique and specialized member of the cat family and can reach speeds of 70 mph. The cheetah is agile enough to stop in a single stride from 32kph. Unlike other cats, the cheetah has a leaner body, longer legs, and has been referred to as the "greyhound" of the cats.”

2.2.4 The customer

  • The targeted 380 customers will predominantly be:
    • Male
    • The target age group is 35+, predominantly in the 40-56 year age group. With an average age of just over 48 years old. With 380 we are aiming to reduce our reliance on 50+ customers
    • Married with no children living at home
    • The target is to improve our appeal to a broader target market. Improving our appeal to white collar clerical as well as white collar professionals / senior managers
    • Income levels generally over $60,000
    • City / urban dweller in eastern seaboard state
    • The targeted 380 owners’ psychographic profiles cluster towards Visible Achievement, Socially Aware and Traditional Family Life in the Roy Morgan Research value segmentation.
    • Vehicle usage is around the suburbs or city streets, however importantly customers still use their vehicles for long trips.
  • Main reasons for choosing a Mitsubishi are; manufacturer, value for money, and design. With 380 we have made an incremental step with design and quality finish.
  • Mitsubishi large sedan owners are generally very satisfied with their vehicles with main strengths being; room/comfort, performance and design.
  • Popular information sources for the purchase process are; advertising on TV, newspaper and magazines; road tests in newspapers and magazines; sales brochures and sales people.

Mitsubishi owners lead a busy lifestyle and are time poor. They perceive themselves to be more intellectual, stylish and extroverted than the general public and other large car buyers. They like to learn about new technology and consider themselves to be leaders and not followers. Quality and Australian made are important to them.

2.3 Product Concept

The Mitsubishi 380 is an all new car. The styling theme is completely different from the previous Magna and Verada and has been 70% re-designed or re-engineered from the American Galant on which it is based, to make it relevant to Australian consumers.

Its major strengths are:

  • New European inspired sporty exterior design
  • Larger engine with significantly more power
  • Larger wheel base size
  • More rear leg room
  • More interior width
  • More interior height
  • Improved ride and handling, for sure footed performance
  • Improved safety rating, four star rating at launch
  • Features such as impact absorbing headlining for reduced injuries in an accident
  • Improved braking efficiency
    • Brake technology from Lancer Evolution WRC cars
    • Designed to comply with the European Motorsport Test (known as AMS test)
  • Class leading automatic transmission package featuring the 5 speed ‘Sports Mode’ INVECS II automatic on standard model.
  • Class leading Emissions output
    • Environmentally friendly lead free fuel tank (Organic steel)
    • More environmentally friendly production process
    • Euro 3 emissions level - first local car giving the lowest emissions among competitors
    • Lead free wiring harnesses
  • Improved storage facilities
  • Remote audio controls across the range
  • Mobile Phone Handsfree System with Bluetooth connectivity
  • Road Side Assist for 5 years on all models
  • Premium Road Side Assist for GT
  • Satellite navigation and multi-media package optional accessory on GT

2.3.1 Exterior Styling

The 380’s exterior appearance sports an overall design theme that combines elements of architecture with modern art, emboldened by a wide broad-shouldered, sporty stance. It has coupe-like styling and four-door functionality.

The 380 is influenced by Australian sedans in its size, Japanese sedans in its execution, but high-end European sedans in both form and proportion.

Exterior design concept

A vehicle is characterised by its styling. The 380’s styling presents a modern, sophisticated sedan. With its gracefully tapering C-pillar, the 380’s silhouette mimics that of a sporty coupe, making the vehicle appear smaller than it actually is.

The 380 is also characterised by the strong shoulder lines that start just aft of the A-pillars and continue the length of the vehicle. Viewed from the side, these shoulder lines flow upward toward the rear and help to create a sense of forward motion. The car appears to be moving even when it is standing still.

Front and rear bumpers are integrated into the overall shape for a minimal offset appearance, and their lines are visually aligned with design elements.

The 380’s exterior shape is designed to reduce wind resistance and drag as well as minimise wind noise.

In consumer clinics conducted in July 2004 respondents agreed that the 380 had the most sporty, fun to drive, youthful, agile, stylish and sleek looks compared to other competitive vehicles in the Large car market segment. They also rated it as more prestigious, sophisticated, expensive and futuristic, thereby confirming the designer’s intent.

There was strong praise from respondents to most angles of the car, and MMAL took notice of the suggestions they made for improvement, and implemented these changes.

75% of the people attending this clinic considered the size of 380 to be ‘just right’.

2.3.2 Interior Styling

As with the exterior, the interior of the Mitsubsishi 380 is all new and is designed to create a distinctive and sporty ambience.

The interior appearance creates an appealing, upmarket, modern and sporty environment, and offers a stimulating alternative to the more subdued interior designs of the competitors.

The cabin features wide, comfortable seating and ample leg and shoulder room. Bold horizontal lines intersect with functional vertical elements to highlight the fact that the 380 offers both roominess and functionality.

There are two centre console styles offered in Mitsubishi’s 380. One features a 2 DIN audio system in the IP centre panel (standard model), while the VRX, LS, LX, and GT models all feature a unique fully integrated audio panel coupled to a 4.9” TFT screen which shows Audio, HVAC and outside temperature information.

Remote audio controls are mounted on the reverse side of the horizontal steering wheel spokes on all models, and allow drivers to change the source (radio / CD), increase / decrease the volume, scan (track or station) up and down, and scan pre-sets without them taking their eyes off the road.

One of the major features of the interior is the Horizontal IP panel. This panel has four distinct treatments which when combined with colours and trim gives a unique flavour for each of the price lines.

The audio system fitted to the standard model is an electronic tune AM/FM unit with a CD player that has MP3 capability. The system plays through 6 high quality speakers for best sound quality and performance.

A premium integrated audio system is standard in the VRX, LS, LX and GT models.It has an AM/FM radio with an in-dash 6-CD stacker, MP3 capability and eight speakers.

Music recorded to disc in MP3 format allows many hours of entertainment from a single disc.

The radio antenna is integrated into the rear glass to give a more sleek appearance and reliability.

There are numerous convenience items which have been included as standard fitment in the value model, such as power windows front and rear (that can be operated after the keys have been removed from the ignition), central locking with keyless entry, map lamps and useful ignition key reminder.

The fully automatic air conditioning system in 380 has been upgraded to be equal class leading in its performance. Rear seat ducts in the centre console are included.

Available in the 380 VRX, LS, LX , and GT is a high tech TFT colour display screen for audio information, air conditioning and heater functions and as well as outside temperature. The screen also allows for many features to be customised to the owner’s preference. These include: interior light auto cut-out timer, windshield wiper speed sensitive operation, headlight auto cut-out, door locking/unlocking confirmation by turn signals, door locking/unlocking confirmation by horn, time until automatic re-lock after unlock, two stage unlock, buzzer when vehicle door ajar, buzzer when turn signal is used.

Standard display

Air conditioning display

Audio display

Clock / calendar display

Warning display

Customise display

The 10-function trip computer is housed in the instrument cluster, and allows the driver to check average speed, instant fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, total fuel used, range to empty, travel time, total distance travelled, as well as also having a speed alert, rest reminder and service reminder.

At night the gauges, interior control knobs and switches are illuminated with striking ice-blue LED lamps that create a sophisticated and co-ordinated interior ambience. LED displays give a more even light and a longer life than normal globes, and lower power consumption.

The 380 standard model has a 4-way power driver’s seat, while the VRX,LS and LX have a 6-way power driver’s seat as standard. 380 GT has a 10-way power memory driver’s seat, and 6-way passenger’s seat as standard. They are optional on the luxury LS and LX models.

Bluetooth capability is available across the entire 380 range. It will be fitted as standard equipment on the 380 GT model and as a dealer fitted accessory on the 380, 380 VRX and 380 LS and LX models.

The 380 is packed with storage space, with large front door pockets, 2 front and 2 rear cup holders, an ample glove box and convenient sunglasses holder, the customer will always find themselves a spot for those everyday items.

To increase the luggage carrying capacity of the trunk the 380 employs a newly designed trunk lid hinge, with gas springs for easy opening. The hinges do not intrude upon the cargo area, thereby allowing maximum use of the trunk space.

2.4 MODEL LINE-UP AND FEATURES

The 380 is an all new product and will be the first of a new wave of large cars due to hit the market from late 2005 through to late 2007. 380 is also the first model being released in the second stage of the revitalisation of the Mitsubishi brand in Australia. The vehicle features a single name branding strategy, and there is no separate luxury name as there has been in the past with Verada.

The all new Mitsubishi 380 comes in one body style – sedan. The range covers 5 price classes.

MODEL DESCRIPTION TRANS BUYER TYPE
DB1D41 380 sedan 5 spd M/T Standard model / manual preference
DB4D41 380 sedan 5 spd A/T Standard model / tool of trade
DB1V41 VRX sedan 5 spd M/T Sports model / manual preference
DB4V41 VRX sedan 5 spd A/T Sports model / private / business manager
DB4H41 LS sedan 5 spd A/T Luxury model / Conservative private buyer / business manager
DB4H41 LX sedan 5 spd A/T Upper luxury model / Conservative private buyer / business manager
DB4X41 GT sedan 5 spd A/T Signature sports luxury model / higher income private buyer / business owner, GM/EVP

The product range has been designed to fit with the brand image for 380, fun, sporty, refined and agile.

The standard model has a dark interior with warm silver highlights, which brings a sporty flavour to the range. The LS model has an integrated instrument panel with a black / stone interior which brings a higher level of luxury to the range. The LX model brings a leather interior with luxury appointments. The VRX model encompasses the sports flavour of 380. The range topping GT encompasses the luxury flavour of the LX with the sports flavour of the VRX. This is the signature model which fully encapsulates the brand image of 380. Fun to drive, sporty and refined.

The 380 Diamond Product Strategy is clearly shown below.

The model range follows the 380 Diamond Product Strategy.

  1. We offer a value package in the 380 model.
  2. The LS and the VRX models offer similar equipment levels. The LS appeals to the more conservative buyer, whereas, the VRX caters for the current trend for more sporty performance.
  3. The LX model, based on the LS with a bevy of luxury features appeals to the EVP/GM level business fleet buyers and conservative buyers with high disposable incomes.
  4. The GT model is the signature vehicle that encapsulates the essence of the 380 range. It takes elements of the VRX being fun to drive and sporty, whilst incorporating the refined luxury of Japanese engineering from the LX to form a true pinnacle or “signature” model.

2.4.1 The standard 380

Mechanical features

  • Euro 3 compliant 3.8 litre SOHC MPI V6 engine
  • “Drive-by-wire” electronic throttle
  • 5-speed all-syncromesh manual transmission
  • 5-speed INVECS II ‘Smart Logic’ automatic transmission with ‘Sports Mode’ sequential shifting function
  • Uniquely developed Bosch “Torque Demand” Engine Management System
  • Large ventilated turbo fin disc brakes front and rear with 2-pot calipers in the front, and one-pot calipers provides greater stopping power
  • Four channel, four sensor ABS with EBD standard
  • Fully independent suspension – MacPherson Strut front, multi-link rear
  • Anti-theft alarm
  • VIN-encoded immobiliser

Exterior

  • Unique Australian frontal treatment (black horizontal bars with floating bright three diamonds symbol and chrome rim)
  • Unique Australian rear treatments (bumpers, badging and lights)
  • High mounted stop lamp on upper edge of trunk lid
  • Uniquely strengthened RISE body structure
  • 16” steel rimmed wheels with full-sized wheel covers and 215/60R 16 95H Goodyear Ducaro GA tyres
  • Body-coloured exterior mirrors with power adjustment

Interior

  • Black / black interior trim treatment with titanium-look highlight panels (Horizontal IP and centre console)
  • Full instrumentation with ice - blue LED illumination
  • 10 function trip computer with twin trip meter
  • 2-DIN security coded electronic tune AM/FM radio / CD / MP3 audio system with 6 speakers
  • steering wheel remote audio controls
  • 4-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support and adjustable head rest
  • Rear seat headrests
  • centre armrest with centre pass through
  • Unique trim and highlight treatments
  • Map lamps and sunglass holder
  • Ignition key reminder
  • Front door pockets
  • Two cupholders in front console
  • Two cupholders in rear arm rest
  • Front seat belts with pre-tensioners and force limiters
  • Audible seat belt reminder system
  • Driver and passenger front and side SRS air bags
  • Break away pedal system
  • Energy absorbing upper trim and headlining
  • Emergency door unlock on impact
  • Remote central locking with 2-stage unlock integrated into key fob, and panic alarm
  • Auto off headlamp control

2.4.2 The 380 LS

The 380LS model will appeal to the more conservative private buyer and is the car preferred by business management.

Major specification changes of 380 LS over the 380 model are:

Mechanical features

  • Traction Control

Exterior

  • 16" x 6.5" six spoke alloy wheels. 215/60R 16 95H Goodyear Ducaro GA tyres
  • Multi Parabola Headlamps with Chrome Bezel and Clear indicator lens
  • Radiator Grille - Luxury Style with Chrome Fins
  • Under Grille - Colour Key with Black Fins
  • Fog lamps
  • Chrome and Body colour side mouldings
  • Trunk lid - chrome moulding
  • Chrome exhaust tip (round)

Interior
  Premium AM/FM Radio, MP3 compatible in dash 6-disc CD changer
  8 speaker audio system
  Leather wrapped steering wheel
  Handbrake Lever with leather cover with chrome button
  Leather Gearshift Knob
  Gearshift surround with Metallic Paint Finish and Chrome
  Trim Accents with Cherry Maple Finish
  Luxury Instrument Meter - with dual tone gloss and matt black with chrome rings, white letters, with ice Blue LED illumination
  Trunk Lid trim
  Electro-chromatic auto dimming interior mirror
  Driver seat with 6-way power adjustment
  Luxury Seat Fabric - Soft Touch Knit with Woven Elegance Insert
  High technology 4.9" TFT Screen featuring:
  ~ start sequence with concept image
  ~ audio information
  ~ outside temp
  ~ heating and air conditioning information
  ~ door ajar warning image
  With the following customisable features:
  ~ Door opening display
  ~ Headlamp auto shut off
  ~ Interior dome lamp shut off
  ~ Headlamp light shut off
  ~ Speed sensitive wipers
  ~ Keyless entry system
  ~ Door ajar warning buzzer
  ~ Keyless entry system
  ~ Door ajar warning buzzer

2.4.2 The 380 LX

The Upper luxury model is the 380LX this is a model that will appeal to EVP/GM level business fleet buyers and conservative private buyers with a higher disposable income.

Major specification changes of 380LX over the 380LS model are:

Mechanical features

  • Sports tuned suspension
  • Performance Strut Tower Brace

Exterior

  • 17" x 7.0" six spoke alloy wheels. 215/55R 17 93V Dunlop SP Sport 230 tyres

Interior

  • Driver seat with 10-way power adjustment with 3 memory settings
  • Passenger seat with 6-way power adjustment
  • Leather Seats with Natural Grain Leather
  • Electric sunroof with slide and tilt

2.4.3 The 380 VRX

The major specification changes of 380VRX over the 380 standard model are:

Mechanical features

  • Traction control
  • Sports tuned suspension
  • Performance Strut Tower Brace

Exterior

  • 17" x 7.0" six spoke alloy wheels. 215/55R 17 93V Dunlop SP Sport 230 tyres
  • Sports Front Bumper with integrated air dam
  • Sports Rear Bumper with integrated air dam and Dark Silver Insert
  • Multi Parabola Headlamps with Dark Silver Bezel and Amber indicator lens
  • Sports Style Rear Combination Lamp, Dark Silver with Clear Lens
  • Front fog lamps - Black Sports Style
  • High mount stop lamp - rear spoiler mounted
  • Radiator Grille - Black Sports Style Mesh
  • Under Grille - Black Sports Style Mesh
  • Colour Keyed Lip Style Rear Spoiler
  • Chrome exhaust tip (oval sporty style)

Interior
  Premium AM/FM Radio, MP3 compatible in dash 6-disc CD changer
  8 speaker audio system
  Leather wrapped steering wheel
  Handbrake Lever with leather cover with chrome button
  Leather Gearshift Knob
  Gearshift surround with Metallic Paint Finish and Chrome surround
  Trim Accents with Technical Mesh Print Finish
  Sports Instrument Meter with dark silver with chrome surround, black letters, with ice Blue LED illumination
  Driver seat with 6-way power adjustment
  Passenger seat lumbar support
  Sports profiled front bucket seats with improved lateral support
  Seat Fabric - Mesh Knit with High Tech Woven Insert
  High technology 4.9" TFT Screen featuring:
  ~ start sequence with concept image
  ~ audio information
  ~ outside temp
  ~ heating and air conditioning information
  ~ door ajar warning image
  With the following customisable features:
  ~ Door opening display
  ~ Headlamp auto shut off
  ~ Interior dome lamp shut off
  ~ Headlamp light shut off
  ~ Speed sensitive wipers
  ~ Keyless entry system
  ~ Door ajar warning buzzer

Buyers for the VRX are less conservative than LS or LX and the VRX caters for the current trend for more sporty performance.

2.4.4 380GT

The 380GT model is the signature vehicle that encapsulates the essence of the 380 range. It captures elements of the VRX, being fun and sporty, whilst incorporating the refined luxury of Japanese engineering from the LX to form a true pinnacle or “signature” model.

The major specification changes of 380GT over the 380VRX model are:

Exterior

  • 17" x 7.0" eight spoke alloy wheels. 215/55R 17 93V Dunlop SP Sport 230 tyres
  • Sports Rear Bumper with integrated air dam with Colour Key Insert
  • Chrome and Body colour side mouldings

Interior

  • Trim Accents with Slate Mahogany Finish
  • Luxury Instrument Meter with dual tone gloss and matt black with chrome rings, white letters, with ice Blue LED illumination
  • Trunk Lid trim
  • Driver seat with 10-way power adjustment with 3 memory settings and including lumbar support
  • Passenger seat with 6-way power adjustment
  • Leather Seats with Natural Grain Leather with Geometric Embossed Leather Insert
  • Electric sunroof with slide and tilt
  • Driver and Passenger sunvisor with extension and illuminated vanity mirror with lid
  • Mobile Phone Handsfree System with Bluetooth connectivity

Safety / Security

  • Rear Park Assist

2.5 COLOUR AND TRIM

2.5.1 Exterior paint colours and combinations

The new Mitsubishi 380 launches with nine exterior paint colours - seven of them new - Vision, Stealth, Storm, Molten, Adrenaline, Electro and Blue Steel. The two carry-over colours are Platinum and Mawson White.

The new paint range reflects the fun and sporty nature of the 380, while two image colours - Adrenaline and Electro - are exclusive to VRX.

The colour concept for 380 was developed by a 30-year old former fashion designer, and is designed to excite and challenge the customer. Her aim was to create a refreshing colour palette that portrayed a sophisticated image with harmonised high quality textures.

The exterior colours will excite by offering new, different and fashionable choices that will challenge the customer to select the new options available to them.

The colour themes can best be summarised by the following:

Revitalize: change from old. Dream: new colours, styles and textures

Bright: exciting, inspiring & expressive

The aim for 380 is to refresh and modernise the exterior colours, while establishing a new colour direction for Mitsubishi, which is “modern sporty sophistication”.

Carryover Colours:

Mawson White – clean solid white (a necessary colour for the fleet market- part of the base colour range)

Platinum – bright metallic silver symbolising high tech speed (part of the base colour range)

New Colours:

Vision – A refreshing elegant colour inspired by nature, evoking relaxation and calm (a character colour for the LS / LX models)

Stealth – A solid black symbolising tough sports (part of the base colour range)

Storm - A sophisticated elegant colour inspired by high-tech industrial products (a character colour for GT)

Molten – An exciting zesty colour– chosen to promote a sexy, yet sporty image

Adrenaline – Inspired by nature. A fresh and sporty colour chosen to communicate youthfulness (a character colour for VRX)

Electro – A fun & uplifting colour evoking energy and festivity. Chosen to enhance fun and sports (a character colour for VRX)

Blue Steel - a luxurious sensual colour chosen for the premium models (a character colour for LS / LX models)

The positioning map below summarises the 380 colour scheme.

2.5.2 Interior trim colours and combinations

Although the basis for the 380 interior design has come from the US model, there have been significant changes in terms of colour and concept to suit the brand image and Australian’s tastes. It has been co-ordinated to project a sporty image, with single tone interiors being adopted in most instances.

The standard 380 model interior - atmosphere is cool, casual & trendy, creating a feeling of high tech youthfulness

The luxury LS and LX model interiors - atmosphere is light, sophisticated and elegant, evoking feelings of calm and relaxation

The sporty VRX model interior - atmosphere is tough, modern and sporty, creating a feeling of high tech speed

The sports / luxury GT model interior - atmosphere is sensual, sporty and stylish, evoking a feeling of elite class

Price Colour
Upper/lower
IP centre panel Horizontal IP panel Seat style Interior theme
380 Black/Black 2 Din audio Painted-charcoal Normal Cool, casual
and trendy
LS / LX Black/Biege Integrated audio Wood print Normal Light, sophisticated
and elegant
VRX Black/Black Integrated audio Technical mesh print Sports Tough, modern
and sporty
GT Black/Black Integrated audio Dark wood print Sports Sensual, sporty
and stylish

2.6 OPTIONS

  380 LS LX VRX GT
Safety and style package combining, Traction Control and 16" x 6.5" six spoke alloy wheels O STD      
           
Electric sunroof with slide and tilt O N/A STD O STD
Stone leather seats with natural grain leather in combination with a 10-way power driver seat with 3 memory settings and a 6-way power passenger seat   O STD    
           
Sports tuned suspension with a strut tower brace. Matched to 17" x 7.0" six spoke alloy wheels. 215/55R 17 93V with Dunlop SP Sport 230 tyres   O STD STD STD
           
Leather sports seats coupled with electro-chromatic auto dimming interior mirror plus passenger and driver sunvisors with extensions and passenger and driver illuminated vanity mirrors with lids.       O STD
           
Satellite Navigation and Multi-Media package also featuring an AM/FM tuner with DVD player and MP3 compatible single disc CD player Acc Acc Acc Acc Factory fit acc

2.7 Accessories

A range of accessories that will help personalise 380s for their respective owners are available, and are listed below:

Accessory Available in RRP
Ash Cup & Lighter All $66.00
Bluetooth Phone Kit All except GT $434.50
Non Slip Boot Grip Net All $30.25
Parcel Net - Boot All $88.00
Rear Parking Assistance Sensor Kit - Stealth Black All except GT $313.50
Rear Parking Assistance Sensor Kit - Electro All except GT $313.50
Rear Parking Assistance Sensor Kit - Blue Steel All except GT $313.50
Rear Parking Assistance Sensor Kit - Vision All except GT $313.50
Rear Parking Assistance Sensor Kit – Molten All except GT $313.50
Rear Parking Assistance Sensor Kit - M/White All except GT $313.50
Rear Parking Assistance Sensor Kit - Adrenalin All except GT $313.50
Rear Parking Assistance Sensor Kit - Storm Grey All except GT $313.50
Rear Parking Assistance Sensor Kit - Platinum Silver All except GT $313.50
Satellite Navigation System - Double DIN Requires DIN Console $3,824.70
Towbar Pkg 1600kg Standard Hitch (160kg Download) All $346.50
Towbar Pkg 1600kg Square Hitch Receiver (160kg Download) All $354.20
Towball 50mm All $16.50
Towball Cover - Chrome All $4.40
Socket Trailer - Flat 12 Pole All $30.47
Tyre Pressure Gauge All $15.95
Alloy Wheel 16" - Diamond (Single Wheel) 380 & LS $225.50
Alloy Wheel Fitting Kit - for Diamond 16" Alloy Wheel 380 & LS $137.50
Alloy-Wheel Nut - Lockset Flat Washer (Set of 4) Alloy Wheels with Flat $19.80
Washer Nut
Exhaust Tip (Chrome) All except VRX & GT $66.00
Foglamps 380 & LS $522.50
Mudflaps - Front All $60.50
Mudflaps - Rear (380, LS & LX) 380, LS & LX $60.50
Mudflaps - Rear (VRX & GT) VRX & GT $60.50
Number Plate Cover - Diamond Spectrum All $29.26
Rear Spoiler Kit (Lip Style) All except VRX & GT $294.80
Carpet Mat Set (Black) 380 Auto $93.50
Carpet Mat Set (Black) 380 Manual $93.50
Carpet Mat Set - LS (Stone) LS $106.15
Carpet Mat Set - LX (Stone) LX $106.15
Carpet Mat Set - VRX (Black) VRX Auto $106.15
Carpet Mat Set - VRX (Black) VRX Manual $106.15
Carpet Mat Set - 380GT (Black) GT $106.15
Rubber Mat - Front (Black) All $39.60
Rubber Mat - Rear (Black) All $28.60
Bonnet Protector All $69.30
Boot Liner - Plastic All $159.50
Boot Flap Scuff Guard All $49.50
Fog Lamp Protector - 380, LS & LX 380, LS & LX $48.40
Fog Lamp Protector - VRX / GT VRX & GT $48.40
Headlamp Protector All $72.60
Safety Warning Triangle All $16.50
Sunguard - Rear Window All $104.50
Weathershields LH All $67.10
Weathershields RH All $67.10

*Note: Fitting charges, where applicable, are extra

2.8 SALES EXPECTATIONS

MMAL expects to sell 32,000 380s in a full year, split in the following proportions:

380 5-speed manual 4%
5-speed automatic 45%
380 LS 5-speed automatic 10%
380 LX 5-speed automatic 7%
380 VRX 5-speed manual 6%
5-speed automatic 21%
380 GT 5-speed automatic 7%

As can be seen, the model mix reflects the market trends towards the ‘sports’ range in the large car segment.

These targets are in line with previous sales achievements of the Magna/Verada sedan range during what would be considered to be a normal model life cycle (such as, 1996 to 2001).

The 380 is a completely new car that has under gone substantial re-positioning and the targets are therefore consistent with launches of previous new generation cars, and are therefore eminently achieveable.

The average market share during the “normal” model life of the last three Magna / Verada models has been 14.1% of the medium/large sedan market. The 380 market target is to achieve 13.6% of the forecast medium/large sedan market during its model life.

3. ENGINEERING

3 LARGE CAR CREDENTIALS - ENGINEERING

  • Large 3.8 litre V6 engine
  • Large car performance - acceleration and braking
  • Large car power and torque
  • Large car towing
  • Large car interior space
  • Large car safety and security

...... but with Medium car fuel economy

The ‘380’ will re-define large car agility, with:

  • Sporty, fun, agile handling across the range
  • Control, confidence, surefooted, cornering, flat ride
  • 3.1 Engine
  • The engine in Mitsubishi’s 380 sedan fits ideally with Australian consumers’ requirements in the large car segment. They want an engine that is in the range of 3.6 ~ 4.0 litres of displacement and is:

    • powerful
    • torquey
    • responsive
    • smooth
    • free revving
    • sweet sounding
    • economical
    • reliable
    • simple, and
    • clean; mated to a
    • smooth-shifting, instinctive transmission

    These adjectives perfectly describe the car’s engine, that has been developed in Mitsubishi’s laboratories and test tracks at MRDAus, MMC, and Bosch in Australia and Germany.

    The new V6 engine is an almost total redesign of the previous 3.5 litre.

    It is based on the 3.8 engine used in the US Galant, but has many different hardware details, and a completely different engine management system which incorporates technology not found in any other Mitsubishi vehicle.

    The new engine, designated 6G75, is a single overhead cam, with four valves per cylinder; and has an actual displacement of 3.828 litres.

    It develops 175kW of power at 5250rpm, and 343Nm of torque at 4000rpm (DIN).

    The meaty torque curve shows over 300Nm from 1500rpm all the way up to almost 5000rpm.

    The power, the strong mid-range torque and the transmission ratios all work together, contributing to the highly competitive vehicle road test performance results. MMAL’s test results show the entry A/T 380 model outperforms its equivalent local competitors, yet returns superior fuel economy.

      MMAL TESTING     
      0-100km/hr 0-400m 60-80km/hr 80-100km/hr 80-120km/hr
    380 (91 RON) 7.76 15.6 2.57 3.1 6.28
    380 (95+ RON)* 7.6 15.49 2.24 2.75 5.6
    Commodore (91 RON) 7.84 15.55 2.76 2.77 5.43
    Falcon (91 RON) 8.47 16.11 2.49 3.08 5.89
    380 Position 1 1 1 1 2

    *Note: Competitor’s engines are not rated to run on higher octane than 91RON.

        Model 
    Engine Type   3.8 L SOHC 3.5 L SOHC
    Engine Code   6G75 6G74
    Valve Train Type   SOHC 24 VALVE SOHC 24 VALVE
    Displacement (cc)   3828 3497
    Bore × Stroke   95.0 × 90.0 93.0 × 85.8
    Compression ratio   10.0 : 1 9.0 : 1
    Cylinder Block Material Cast Iron Cast Iron
    Cylinder Head Material Aluminium Aluminium
    Engine Max Speed  Red Line (rpm) 6100 6200
    Over Rev Limiter (rpm) 6500
    (by torque reduction)
    6500
    (by fuel cut)
    Fuel System   MPI MPI
    Fuel Type   Regular ~ Premium
    Unleaded
    Unleaded Regular Only
    Fuel Supply   Returnless Type Return Type
    Injector   12 Hole Spray
    Ultra Micro Droplet type
    2 Spray type
    Ignition System   Power transistor in-built type, coil on plug Built-in Distributor
    Knock Sensor   Wide-Band KS4 NONE
    Throttle Control   Electronic Control CABLE
    Spark Plug   Pt / Ir Cu / Ni
    Cooling Fan Control   Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) Relay Control
    Exhaust Gas Recycling (EGR)   None Electric Control Duty type

    The innovative adaption of new and existing technologies to the 380 engine has garnered MMAL a prestigious Engineering Excellence Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia.

    The following table outlines the differences between the new engine, and the highly regarded silky smooth 3.5 litre engine in the outgoing Magna / Verada.

    This engine has completely new block, crankshaft, rods, pistons and heads along with many other changes.

    Its compression ratio is up from 9 to 10:1, its speed limiter works by torque management rather than fuel cut, and it will automatically optimise its operation on regular (91RON) to premium fuel (95RON), and any blend in-between. It has advanced 12-hole injectors, coil-on-plug ignition, cylinder-selective knock control, drive-by-wire electronic throttle control, long-life platinum-iridium spark plugs and an exotic pulse-width-modulation cooling fan speed control.

    Although the new engine is an almost total redesign of the silky smooth 6G74 previously used in Magna and Verada, it retains the great strengths of the basic architecture of that engine.

    Things such as:

    • An excellent, compact combustion chamber shape which minimises surface area thereby enabling more of the energy of combustion to be turned into work and less into waste heat,
    • A centrally located spark plug, giving the shortest possible combustion path,
    • Tapered intake ports with smooth change of direction onto the valve seat and downdraft for maximum valve periphery utilisation,
    • Short exhaust ports for minimum heat rejection to the cooling system.
    • Rocker arms made from aluminium, and a Y-shaped exhaust rocker arm, for low valve train inertia comparable (and in some cases superior to) DOHC designs,
    • Needle roller cam followers for minimum valve-train friction, and
    • Maintenance-free hydraulic valve lash adjusters.

    In the bottom end:

    • The one-piece beam bearing cap gives great strength and rigidity, and reduces bending vibration of the crankshaft.
    • This rigidity is further enhanced by 4-bolt fixing of each main bearing “cap”.

    Mitsubishi found during engine development that the camshaft profile developed for the Ralliart Magna a few years ago is perfectly suited to this engine, so it has been adopted across the board.

    When compared with the profile used in the US Galant engine, it has 10% Lift increase and 8 more overlap, but it definitely does not result in a peaky output.

    To go with the Ralliart cam, MMAL has applied the valve springs which were also developed as a part of the Ralliart project to ensure valve control and durability at the increased lift and at high rpm.

    They are wound from a special section-shape wire, and then treated with shot peening and nitriding for ultimate fatigue strength.

    The crankshaft in the engine for manual transmission vehicles is made from extra-strong heat-treated chrome-molybdenum steel, and has increased radius, rolled fillets for increased strength against the higher shock loads possible with a manual transmission.

    The 380’s radiator cooling fans are run on a very sophisticated Pulse Width Modulation principle, controlled by the engine ECU.

    A conventional fan switches on and off abruptly, frequently and noisily, and switches between its 2 or 3 speeds in sharp steps.

    With PWM, the fan speed can be varied widely and smoothly, eliminating annoying bursts of exterior noise and changes to brightness of lamps as the fans cycle on and off.

    However, the real breakthrough with 380 is its engine management system.

    In order to re-engineer the engine for Australia’s ADR 79/01 emissions requirements (which are particularly challenging in cold-starts), and to make the vehicle operate on regular unleaded fuel, the Engine Management System (or EMS) is completely new.

    For this Mitsubishi selected Robert Bosch Australia as its EMS supplier, and engaged them in a major cooperative development program.

    The Engine Management System differs from conventional systems in that it has a “torque-demand” way of choosing the instantaneous settings for engine variables such as throttle valve position, injection time, and ignition timing.

    Compared to a conventional system, with its computing power used up in deciding how to manage uncoordinated interactions between separate inputs, this system gives precise torque control in response to driver and system demands.

    The engine management system can react exceptionally quickly with other systems such as TCL because it communicates through a Control Area Network, known as CAN.

    The 380 is MMAL’s first locally built car to use this CAN system, which links all major electronic control modules. It is a system of multiplexing information between electronic controllers, dramatically accelerating communication and reducing the number of wires in the car.

    The key to meeting the new stringent Euro 3 regulations, and giving smooth driveability, are the new 12-hole injectors. Allied with the returnless fuel system they deliver, through their multiple-hole orifice plate, a fine atomised spray pattern with much smaller droplet size of 60~70 microns; almost vaporising the fuel.

    The aiming of the injectors has also been optimised for combustion efficiency.

    Another crucial element of emissions control for our 6G75 engine is the 2 clamshell (rather than cast iron) exhaust manifolds, each with a 0.7 litre Manifold Catalytic Converter (or MCC). The stainless steel clamshell construction reduces thermal inertia upstream of the catalysts, thereby speeding light-off, and they are lighter than equivalent cast-iron parts.

    The MCC catalyst configuration, with the catalysts so close to the engine, also promotes faster warming and light-off, improving emissions performance particularly just after a cold start.

    A key ingredient of the car’s responsiveness is the effort, feel and tuning of the controls. An example of the passion Mitsubishi has put into optimising such variables is the 3-D map for the output characteristics of the drive-by-wire accelerator pedal. This map, arrived at after hundreds of hours tuning, replaces the fixed relationship of cable systems, or the cruder output of conventional drive-by-wires.

    The design and sophistication of the engine and its management system have been extensively endurance tested. In addition to the thousands of hours spent in calibration work on the dynamometers, this engine is has been very extensively tested, especially when considering that many of the mechanical parts are common with other Mitsubishi engines.

    The engine for 380 is a thoroughly developed and proven engine package, and as part of MMAL’s quest for “110% quality”, engines from each stage of prototype and pilot build were selected for testing and re-testing; about 10,000 hours were spent on the dynos alone.

    Although the engine for 380 has many sophisticated features the servicing costs will be less than its predecessor.

    Performance

    MMAL testing has shown the following results;

    (1) 0 - 100 kph

    (2) Passing acceleration 80 – 100 kph

    (3) Fuel economy

    380 leads in both performance and fuel economy. (Note: 380 is Euro 3 compliant, where-as its competitors are generally only Euro 2 compliant).

    3.2 Transmissions

    The increased power and torque generated by the 3.8 litre engine demands reliable transmissions, and this is where the 5-speed manual and automatic transmissions come into their own.

    Despite the relatively low call up of manual-transmission vehicles in this class (and not being available in the US Galant), development of a manual was paramount to support the sporty positioning of the car. The five-speed close ratio manual transmission is based on the one that was available in Magna, but has undergone significant development to provide the performance expected in a sporty car.

    MMAL expects to attract new customers by offering a viable manual to those drivers seeking maximum sporty involvement.

    A stroke stopper has been added to the shift cable bracket to improve direct feel during the shift operation, and the shift stroke has been shortened by about 10% to give a more sporty feel. First gear has been changed from a double cone to triple cone syncro to give optimum operation effort, and reverse has gone from a single cone to double cone. A 5th to 4th shift guide structure has also been added to give an improved feel and greater precision when downshifting.

    All internal parts have been beefed up and a new transmission oil has been specified to handle the extra torque generated by the new 3.8 litre engine.

    Much effort has been spent on tuning the clutch feel, and in matching the engine and clutch characteristics for smart, smooth, controllable launches.

    The result is a smoother, less notchy and more precise shift every time.

    The ratios are:

    Manual
    1st 3.333
    2nd 2.105
    3rd 1.407
    4th 1.031
    5th 0.804
    Reverse 3.416
    Final Drive 4.111

    One of the major changes away from the US Galant was to the automatic transmission which is sold in 4 A/T form only. MMAL wanted to release 380 with a five-speed auto across the range to fit with the sporty positioning of the car.

    Automatic
    1st 3.789
    2nd 2.162
    3rd 1.421
    4th 1.000
    5th 0.686
    Reverse 3.117
    Final Drive 3.325

    The field performance of these transmissions in the past has been excellent, and they have undergone further development for the 380. A new control unit, working with the EMS, optimises shift speed and quality, adapts to driver style, and automatically compensates for component tolerances and wear.

    MMAL is the only local manufacturer to offer a 5-speed automatic transmission in its standard model, and the extra ratio results in smoother operation, improved performance and fuel economy.

    3.3 Road holding and Handling

    3.3.1 Suspension

    The suspension for 380 has seen a major re-development from the US spec Galant to meet our sporty/agile positioning.

    Recognising that superior handling and roadholding are vital to this new large sedan, Mitsubishi has developed a unique suspension for the new 380, known as BOS (Body Optimised Suspension).

    The BOS system is a fully independent suspension and is designed to provide superior stability, excellent ride quality and agile handling without compromise on steering precision, response and cornering power.

    The front suspension is a MacPherson strut with lower A-arm, coil over spring and stabiliser bar. It incorporates a flat fabricated cross-member with no centre kick up, which is both light and rigid.

    Such a cross-member enables the steering rack and tie-rods to be close to the plane of the lower control arms, thereby minimising bump steer and improving directional control on uneven surfaces. Road noise has been reduced by attaching the cross member to the body through rubber bushings, and serviceability has been improved by reducing the number of attaching points from six to four.

    The lower A-arm has been tuned to improve handling stability and ride comfort by optimising the rear bushing characteristics (soft in the harshness input direction, and hard for cornering input). Large diameter struts have been introduced and the damping force optimised to improve handling stability and ride comfort.

    The rear suspension is a sophisticated low-mount, multi-link arrangement. The low profile positioning of the entire rear suspension – with its strategic location of coil springs, shock absorbers and links, and reduced mounting point height – helps to fully utilise trunk space.

    Strong rear trailing arms with large, vibration-absorbing rear bushings, a large lattice work structure made of steel and large diameter rubber suspension bushings (located in the lower control arms and upper links) all contribute to a significant reduction in road noise and vibration that is transmitted into the cabin.

    The wide track design uses long arms to optimise toe and camber rates.

    These high levels of road isolation especially in the rear due to relocation of upper suspension result in a quieter ride.

    The 380’s handling is characterised by:

    • Quick response
    • Controllable yaw gain
    • Quick yaw damping, and
    • Low phase delay

    All of these are highly desirable characteristics for an agile chassis; and Mitsubishi has truly achieved European-style handling characteristics in its development program.

    We aim for the diamond shape in the chart to be large, but balanced in all directions.

    3.3.2 Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH):

    The FWD layout as used in 380, provides much improved NVH levels as the engine and transmission mounting method provides double isolation. The engine / transmission assembly is isolated from the cross member, which is in turn isolated from the body. This means that the noise transmission paths are double isolated and this greatly improves NVH.

    Front Centre Noise - 3rd gear WOT

    Rear Centre Noise – 3rd gear WOT

    Front Centre Noise – Constant Speed

    3.3.3 Steering

    Steering is power assisted rack and pinion, and the steering feel has been improved by increasing the mounting rigidity by wider attaching span of bushings.

    To further improve steering feel and shimmy sensitivity a stay has been fitted at the left-side mounting and new structure rubber bushings (soft on side direction, hard on fore and aft direction) have also been fitted at four locations.

    The pump flow is optimised by an engine rpm sensitive pump.

    The turning circle is 11.2 metres.

    3.4 Brakes

    With the increased engine output and new improved dynamic suspension an improvement in braking performance provides the complete spirited and refined driving experience. By drawing on Mitsubishi’s extensive rally experience the brake system is optimised by way of larger and thicker vented front discs that are clamped by twin piston calipers (previously single), while the rear discs are substantially larger and are now vented. These are clamped by single piston calipers.

    The all-new front and rear discs feature an innovative turbo-fin grid ventilation pattern for improved air flow and even heat distribution. This design has been modelled on the highly successful EVO Lancer for improved operation in severe braking conditions, and therefore 380’s braking system is able to comply with the AMS test (European Motor sport test).

    The locally designed brakes have been significantly upgraded over the US Galant, as the Australian car has bigger ventilated discs fitted to all four wheels, with twin piston calipers up front.

    380 is the only Australian manufactured entry model to feature vented rear disc brakes.

    The system has been tuned for outstanding brake feeling, resulting in top level stiffness and responsiveness, as well as fade-free stops every time.

    The chart above shows 100-0kph stopping distance in metres, and clearly shows the outstanding braking ability of the new 380 compared to two other local competitors – Camry and Falcon respectively.

    All models in the 380 range are fitted with 4-channel 4-sensor ABS with EBD as standard equipment. The system fitted is Bosch’s ABS 8.0, which is the company’s latest iteration of the highly regarded system. The unit has been redesigned to be more compact (30% reduction in volume) and lighter (25% reduction in mass).

    Disc sizes are:

    Front 294 mm X 28mm diameter ventilated discs with 2-pot calipers
    Rear 302 mm X 18mm diameter ventilated discs with 1-pot calipers

    The parking brake is a 190 mm drum style, with the handbrake lever located in the centre console alongside the driver.

    The foot brake pedal is designed to fold forward in the event of an accident.

    3.5 Wheels and Tyres

    As an integral part of the roadholding package, the tyres for the 380 have been painstakingly improved from the US benchmark. Many parameters are traded to match a particular chassis, and in this instance we placed a high priority on the highlighted, dynamic performance ones.

    The 380 uses 16” X 6.5” steel rims fitted with 215/60R16 95H steel belted radials and full sized wheel covers.

    The luxury LS variant comes with 16” X 6.5” six-spoke alloys fitted with 215/60R16 95H steel belted radials as standard. The LX comes with a 17” X 7” six-spoke alloy wheel that is fitted with 215/55R17 93V steel belted radials and sports suspension.

    The sports variants – the VRX and GT – come fitted with 17” X 7” alloy wheels fitted with 215/55R17 93V steel belted radials. The VRX alloys are six-spoke, while the GT has unique eight-spoke alloys.

    The rear underfloor of the Mitsubishi 380 has been specifically designed for Australia to take a full size spare wheel which is stored under the cargo board.

      Tyre & Wheel   Spare Tyre & Wheel  
      Tyre Wheel Tyre Steel Wheel
    16" 215/60R16 95H 16 X 6.5JJ (Steel) 215/60R16 95H 16 X 6.5JJ (Steel)
        16 X 6.5JJ (Alloy)    
    17" 215/55R17 93V 17 x 7JJ (Alloy) 215/60R16 95H 16 X 6.5JJ (Steel)
             

    3.6 Body structure

    The body for the Mitsubishi 380 is almost completely redesigned from the US Galant donor car. Our engineers took the basic US Galant body design as its starting point, as its one-piece side panel, straight frame structure and rear seat back braces all contribute to high body stiffness that is the starting point for a firm, flat ride.

    The ‘380’ car body is significantly more rigid than the USA car. In some areas, extra steel has been used, but the grade of steel used to build this car is superior as well.

    The front end was completely re-engineered to meet Australian off-set and side impact crash requirements, while the rear end was completely redesigned and strengthened to accommodate a full-size spare tyre, and to withstand the input forces of a weight distribution hitch used in towing.

    However, in our quest for even greater stiffness to accommodate our intended high roll-stiffness suspensions, we analysed the structure, found its limits, then achieved our goal after we added extra brackets at critical joints, up-spec’d the material properties of a number of other parts, and guaranteed the consistency of glass adhesion with a new robotic process.

    One method used to increase the structural strength of the body while minimising its weight was to introduce tailor welded blanking.

    Sheet steel blanks arrive at the plant laser welded by the supplier, with sections of various types and thickness of material. It is then cut and formed into the part required, which for the ‘380’ is the body sill panel.

    The idea is to only put the thicker and heavier material where you need it (for safety, body rigidity, etc.), and is the same principle used in the construction of World Rally Cars, where Mitsubishi has considerable experience.

    Previously, the only way to get localised extra strength was to spot weld another piece onto the sill. But this would mean extra parts to manufacture and store, and an extra welding fixture on the assembly line. Tailor welded blanks make the build process simpler and quicker.

    This process has been used for some years overseas - e.g. for door inners, where hinge mounts need extra strength – but is used sparingly in Australia and is new to MMAL.

    The toy-tabs construction technique ensures the parts will mate together in the same way, every time, and that the final shell has a minimum of pre-stress after welding.

    The final stiffness is remarkable; measurements show torsion and bending stiffness double our own benchmark! This body design, coupled with the unique suspension system design delivers BOS (Body Optimised Suspension).

    A strut tower brace, directly related to agile handling, is also fitted to 17”-wheel models.

    Of course, all this work has been concurrently done with the achievement of crashworthiness development targets an imperative.

    3.7 Towing

    There is a general impression held by many Australian drivers that FWD vehicles can not tow. This is simply not the case. In fact, pulling a boat out of a boat ramp is much simpler in a front wheel drive car, as the drive wheels are out of the water and slime, thereby giving much great traction.

    To maintain optimum customer safety, Mitsubishi’s policy on passenger car towing states that the towed mass should not exceed the towing mass. (ie a vehicle mass to trailer mass ratio of 1:1) This is reflected in the 380’s standard towing ability.

    The rear end of the Mitsubishi 380 has been specifically strengthened with stronger and deeper rear side members to accommodate a weight distribution hitch. Consequently, 380 has great stability when towing.

    When reviewing the standard cars in the large car segment, it can be shown that a standard 380 has equal to, and even greater than, standard towing capacity at highway speeds when compared to the two rear wheel drive competitors. It does not need oil coolers fitted etc as some other cars do.

    The 380’s towing capacity is 1600 kgs with a towball download of 160 kgs. It is recommended that a weight distribution hitch is used when towing large and heavy loads, and trailer brakes should be fitted for any towed vehicle over 570 kgs in mass.

    MMAL offers two towing kits as genuine accessories – one a standard towbar for normal box trailers etc, and the other a hitch receiver for serious towing.

    3.8 Safety

    As evidence to Mitsubishi’s commitment to safety in motoring the Mitsubishi 380 is well specified with a raft of active and passive safety features.

    (1) Active Safety

    • The larger than average braking package developed especially for the 380 (large ventilated front discs with 2-pot calipers and large ventilated rear discs with single piston calipers) helps to pull the car up quickly and safely with fade-free stops every time. 380 has a much shorter stopping distance than its mainstream competitors.
    • Four channel, four sensor ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) is fitted as standard across the range.
    • Mitsubishi’s Traction Control helps drivers achieve stable acceleration by detecting slippage in the drive wheels under launch by adjusting the engine’s output power. It also ensures firm grip during cornering by adjusting wheel spin. All this is done with minimal intrusion to driving pleasure.

    (2) Passive Safety

    • 380’s rigid body is the foundation for the integrated safety package, as it is designed to Mitsubishi’s RISE parameters that ensure a deformable front of the vehicle in the event of a collision, while the strong and tough cabin area keeps the occupants safely cocooned from any injury.
    • Three-point seat belts are fitted in all seating positions. The two front seat belts have pre-tensioners and force limiters fitted as standard, and the anchorage point is height adjustable.
    • The outer rear seat belts are ALR/ELR.

    An audible reminder sounds to advise the driver if they are driving with a door not properly closed, or for six seconds after the ignition key is switched on if the driver’s seat belt is not fastened and for 60 seconds if the vehicle speed exceeds 8 km/hour and the driver’s seat belt is not fastened.

    • The foot brake pedal has been designed to fold forward in the result of an accident.
    • 380’s cabin has energy absorbing upper trim to reduce head injury in the result of an accident.
    • Add to that front driver’s and passenger’s airbags as standard, as well as side airbags, and the safety story gets better.
    • Reversing sensors are fitted as standard to the 380 GT and are available across the remainder of the range. These sensors warn the driver if their vehicle is approaching an object while it is reversing, and thereby help to prevent collisions with people and objects that might be out of sight.
    • Bluetooth connectivity is available across the range to allow for handsfree useage of mobile phones.

    3.9 Security

    380’s key fob has an integrated radio wave transmitter for the remote central locking (as opposed to the separate key-holder type for the outgoing Magna / Verada. The transmitter circuit and battery are set in a case and the case is in the key grip part. This double structure improves waterproofing.

    On one side of the fob is a bright silver plated Mitsubishi symbol to enhance the quality feel, while the other side has lock, unlock, trunk and panic buttons.

    There is an indicator, which lights up when it is transmitting a signal, set above the grip. It confirms transmitting situation, and also indicates if the transmitter has a flat battery.

    The key has a two-stage door unlocking function. The first press will only open the driver’s side door, and the second press will unlock all doors. Cabin illumination (for safe entry) will come on as soon as the key is pressed to open the doors.

    The panic button is operated by pressing the button for one second, and cancelled by pressing either the panic button or another button for a shorter time.

    Immobilizer functions are integrated.

    Mitsubishi’s ETACS (Electric Time and Alarm Control System) also provides many security functions.

    ETACS will not let the engine start if a non-authentic key is used, and validates that the correct key is being used when the ignition switch is turned on. It will then allow the engine to start.

    ETACS’ buzzer function sounds to advise the driver if they are driving with a door not properly closed, or for six seconds after the ignition key is switched on if the driver’s seat belt is not fastened and for 60 seconds if the vehicle speed exceeds 8 km/hour and the driver’s seat belt is not fastened.

    ETACS will automatically turn off the headlamps if the ignition key is turned to ‘lock’ or ‘acc’ and the driver’s door is opened with the light switch in the ‘headllamp’ position. If the ignition key is turned to ‘lock’ or ‘acc’ with the driver’s door closed and the light switch in the ‘headlamp’ position the lights will stay on for approximately three minutes and then automatically turn off. If the light switch is turned to the ‘headlamps’ position after the ignition key is turned to ‘lock’ or ‘acc’ position, the lights will automatically turn off in one minute. These functions allow, for example, the occupant to get to their front door with the use of their car’s headlamps.

    ETACS automatically turns off the interior lamp (cabin lamp, trunk lamp, door ajar indicator) if the ignition switch is in the ‘lock’ position after 30 minutes.

    ETACS allows the power windows to operate for 30 minutes after the engine is turned off if both the driver’s and passenger’s doors are closed.

    If the key is left in the ignition switch while the driver’s or passenger’s doors are opened all doors will automatically be unlocked to prevent locking the ignition key in the vehicle.

    ETACS causes the hazard lamps to flash and the horn to sound intermittently for 27 seconds when the door, trunk or bonnet is opened wrongly. (i.e by a potential thief)

    When the ‘panic’ button is pressed on the key fob the hazard lamps will flash and the horn will continue to sound intermittently.

    It is possible to customise many functions of ETACS through the centre display in the 380’s upper console. For example, some functions that it is possible to change are to eliminate the headlamp autocut, change the time for door locking, change the time for the interior lamp off, and change the availability of the horn answer-back when locking the car.

    3.10 Environment

    Two of Mitsubishi 380’s major environmental impacts are the to be the first Australian manufactured car to comply with Euro 3 emission standards, and the new drive-by noise regulations. For example, even though the drive-by noise limit is only reduced by 3dB (from 77 to 74dB) it results in a 50% reduction in sound power.

    However, there are other areas in which the 380 sets the standard, and the first of these is the introduction of an ‘organic’ fuel tank.

    MMAL decided that it still wanted a steel fuel tank for the 380 as it would allow the option to export to any country in the future but, for environmental reasons, it would not use Lead or Chromium in the alloy material of the tank. This meant that it could no longer solder in the various attachments to the tank, like filler pipes, breather pipes, etc. It had to braze instead, a different process requiring precision and high temperature handling. Four robots are used in this process to assemble and seal the petrol tank.

    MMAL is using a special welding robot to seal the tank around its circumference, and this robot uses copper wire which is fed to roller wheels, to ensure that every millimetre of that continuous weld is done using a fresh welding surface. After welding, the copper wire is automatically collected for scrap and recycled into more wire.

    Each tank is pressure tested before it leaves the tank facility.

    The new fuel tank shell is made from steel that is coated on both sides with layers of zinc, nickel and an epoxy-bound outer layer. The new tank is both more environmentally friendly at the steelworks and at the end of the vehicle’s life. The tank is more durable and corrosion resistant.

    3.11 Engineered for Australians

    The new Mitsubishi 380 had its roots in the American Galant, but one of President and CEO Tom Phillip’s dictates was that the car had to be engineered for Australian consumers, and Australian conditions. This resulted in 70% of the American car being re-designed or re-engineered.

    Major changes included:

    • Strengthening the body to handle the more harsh conditions encountered on Australian roads.
    • Redesigning and re-engineering the rear underfloor area to accommodate a full size spare wheel, and to be able to accommodate a weight distribution hitch.
    • Redesigning the front and rear of the car to a style more in line with the car’s sporty, agile image. At the front the bonnet, front guards, lights, grille and bumper are all changed, while at the rear the lights, bumper, garnishes and badges were all changed.
    • New 3.8 litre MPI V6 engine with unique hardware, some of which was developed for the Ralliart Magna.
    • Unique engine management system developed collaboratively with Robert Bosch.
    • Unique suspension development to fit with MMAL’s sporty and agile marketing positioning.
    • New, larger ventilated disc brakes front and rear, with the front discs having two-pot calipers (in lieu of one).
    • Five-speed automatic transmission with sequential operation across the range (in lieu of four-speed).
    • Development of a close ratio five-speed manual transmission to suit the increased torque of the larger 3.8 litre engine
    • Unique interior treatments for all models, and a new colour palette for exterior colours.
    • New design wheel covers and alloy wheels for all models.

    Additionally, there were many new manufacturing procedures that were implemented that helped give the Australian car a unique flavour. Some of these include:

    • The installation of a new transfer press that could stamp the side of the car in one stamping (this contributes greatly to the car’s rigidity).
    • The introduction of Toy Tabs to allow the body to be held together without welding until the final stages of its build (this ensures body rigidity, reduction in NVH and industry-leading repeatable panel margins).
    • The introduction of an ‘organic’ fuel tank.

    There are hundreds of other unseen changes that collectively add together to make Mitsubishi’s 380 engineered for Australians.

    3.12 Specifications

    ENGINE
    3.8 litre V6, SOHC 24 valve with roller rockers and auto lash adjusters    
    Bore x stroke 95.0 x 90.0   
    Capacity 3828   
    Compression ratio 10.0:1   
    Fuel System Electronically controlled multi-point injection   
         
    PERFORMANCE Power Torque
    380 175 343  
    380 LS / LX 175 343  
    380 VRX 175 343  
    380 GT 175 343  
         
    FUEL TANK CAPACITY 67 litres   
         
    FUEL CONSUMPTION l/100km (ADR 81/01) 5 SPEED MANUAL 5 SPEED AUTO
    380 11.4 10.8  
    380 LS / LX - 10.8  
    380 VRX 11.4 10.8  
    380 GT - 10.8  
         
    TRANSMISSION
    Manual transmission 5 speed, all synchromesh, floor shift.   
    Auto transmission 5 Speed INVECS II "Smart Logic" automatic transmission with "SPORTS MODE" sequential gear shift   
         
    GEAR RATIOS
    Ratio 5-speed MANUAL 5-speed AUTOMATIC  
    1st 3.333 3.789  
    2nd 2.105 2.162  
    3rd 1.407 1.421  
    4th 1.031 1  
    5th 0.804 0.686  
    Reverse 3.416 3.117  
    Final drive 4.111 3.325  
         
    BRAKES
    Power assisted 4 wheel discs    
    Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)    
         
    Front 294mm x 28mm vented discs with twin piston calipers   
    Rear 302mm x 18mm vented discs with single piston calipers    
         
    SUSPENSION
    Front Independent McPherson strut with coil springs, lower A-arm and anti-sway bar   
    Rear Independent low mount multi-link with upper and lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers and anti-sway bar   
         
    STEERING Power Assisted Rack and Pinion    
         
    TURNING CIRCLE (M) 11.2 m    
             
    DIMENSIONS - (mm) 380 380 LS / LX 380 VRX 380 GT
    Overall length 4837 4837 4855 4855
    Overall width 1840 1840 1840 1840
    Overall height 1480 1480 1480 1480
    Front Overhang 984 984 989 989
    Rear Overhang 1103 1103 1116 1116
    Wheelbase 2750 2750 2750 2750
    Track        
    front 1570 1570 1570 1570
    rear 1570 1570 1570 1570
    Ground Clearance 162 162 162 162
         
    INTERNAL - (mm)
    Head room (front) 1011   
    Head room (rear) 941   
    Shoulder room (front) 1455   
    Shoulder room (rear) 1446   
    Leg room (front) 1083   
    Leg room (rear) 955   
    Total legroom 1775   
         
    TRUNK CAPACITY (L) 437   
         
    MAXIMUM TOWING CAPACITY (kg) 1600kg Braked Trailer  
      570kg Unbraked Trailer  
         
      KERB MASS (kg)  
      MANUAL AUTOMATIC
    380 1625 1665  
    380 LS - 1660  
    380 LX - 1698  
    380 VRX 1630 1670  
    380 GT - 1700  
         
    ELECTRICAL SYSTEM Battery 12V, 600CCA  
      Alternator 110A  

    3.13 Dimensions

    Length   4837 mm (4855mm for VRX/GT)
    Width   1840mm
    Height   1479mm
    Wheelbase   2750mm
    Track Front 1570mm
      Rear 1570mm
    Overhang Front 984mm
      Rear 1103mm
    Ground clearance   162mm

    Head room Front (H61) 1011mm
      Rear (H63) 941mm
    Leg room Front (L34) 1083mm
      Rear (L51) 955mm
    Shoulder room Front (W3) 1455mm
      Rear (W4) 1446mm
    Hip room Front (W5) 1386mm
      Rear (W6) 1345mm
    Brake pedal (F)   950mm
    Hip point couple (G)   765mm
    Total leg room (F + G)   1775mm
    Front hip point couple (T)   760mm
    Cargo volume (litres)   437

    3.14 Features

    4. ‘BETTER BUILT” - MANUFACTURING

    The Mitsubishi 380 is better built because:

    • Technology / innovation in the build process to ensure a better car
    • Refinement and reliability built into the car
    • Durability built into the car – 12 year’s anti-corrosion cover

    4.1 Large Press

    As part of the mandate to build the best-quality car ever built in Australia MMAL installed a transfer press at its Tonsley Park assembly plant that will stamp out a body side in one single piece.

    The large press components, automation robotics, and associated facilities represent a AUS$40 million investment that is part of MMAL’s overall $600 million investment for the new Mitsubishi 380.

    As the largest press line within the global MMC group, and the largest facility of its type within the Australian automotive industry, the press line is made up of four separate presses that collectively weigh 1,100 tonnes, with steel accounting for 90% of its weight. At maximum speed, it can stamp out 450 one-piece body sides per hour.

    The machinery stamps the one side panel for the new car instead of using four separate pieces for the same section, offering better strength and rigidity to the vehicle body shell. In short, a more accurate body is produced and a weight reduction in the vehicle is achieved, while the cost to manufacture is also reduced.

    The presses are large enough to make panels for any Mitsubishi model currently being manufactured, including SUV-sized vehicles, increasing Tonsley Park's manufacturing flexibility for the future.

    Features of the large press installation are:

    • The press has been purchased and assembled with the specific purpose of producing a one-piece body side for the new Mitsubishi 380.
    • The “large press” refers to four separate presses that actually join together in one line.
    • Sheet steel blanks are firstly fed into the line and are stamped, pierced and trimmed. The result is a one-piece body side, which emerges from the end of the large press
    • This is vastly different from the older style press, which made smaller pieces of the vehicle's side panel that then needed to be welded together.
    • The large press line can stamp out 450 one-piece body sides per hour, approximately 7.5 pieces per minute
    • The large press consists of two 2,400t capacity and two 800t capacity presses utilising the latest in press tendering technology including vision systems, panel washing and oil spray equipment, and automated panel racking.
    • The state-of-the-art press line is fully automated.
    • The line also has a 50t capacity twin hook overhead crane with floor operation remote control.

    The many benefits to MMAL of the large press line and its associated technology include:

    • A shorter turnaround for producing cars;
    • A stronger body for each vehicle (due to the decreased number of welds needed); and
    • A safer and less strenuous environment for manufacturing employees to work in.
    • By using the one piece body side, the need for pillar welding and grinding is eliminated, metal defects and paint contamination is eliminated, a more accurate body is produced and a weight reduction in the vehicle is achieved. The cost to manufacture is also cheaper.

    Put simply, the quality goes up, while the cost and weight come down.

    4.2 Toy Tabs

    With the launch of the ‘380’, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited will become Australia’s first automotive manufacturer to use innovative and cutting-edge “Toy Tab” vehicle assembly technology.

    Toy Tabs will ensure every new Mitsubishi 380 will have near perfect body accuracy. This unparalleled body accuracy will again underpin the company’s promise of delivering the best quality car ever built in Australia.

    MMAL has revolutionised not only its 40 year-old manufacturing facility at Tonsley Park, but the Australian automotive industry at large, and considers the introduction of Toy Tabs an historic moment for locally manufactured automobiles.

    Toy Tabs are small flaps of steel that are bent by robots to relatively loosely hold together panels which form the body of a vehicle. The body is therefore assembled progressively without the need for welding at each stage.

    Once all of the panels are assembled, a single fixture firmly holds the body in place, and with the panels correctly positioned, the whole body structure is then welded together, culminating in near-perfect body accuracy.

    Greater body accuracy equates to improved fit and finish of bolt-on components. Better fitting of components results in better appearance to the consumer and closure effort of doors, lids etc, and minimises rattles, squeaks, vibrations and wind noise.

    The introduction of “Toy Tabs” has allowed MMAL to achieve significantly improved body accuracy and this results in a much better quality product for 380 owners.

    Most other manufacturers have a gap tolerance of 1.5mm, but the target with the Mitsubishi 380 is to have 95% of all critical points (e.g engine mounts, cockpit mounts, seat mounts, body sides, door apertures, points adjacent to plastic items like lights, bumpers etc) within 0.7mm of where they should be, a first for any Australian manufactured vehicle. This target was achieved at the P2 prototype build.

    4.3 Roll Hemming

    Versilok is a two-part epoxy adhesive containing 0.2mm glass beads. Prior to Versilok, the adhesive MMAL used had to be cured in the paint oven, and panels that had been assembled could slip out of perfect alignment before they got to the oven. This resulted in panels that might not perfectly align with the vehicle body, and that could subsequently result in customer complaints.

    Versilok sets in under 30 minutes, at normal temperatures, so an oven is not required. The glass beads cause small dimples in the two metal pieces being squeezed together, preventing movement while the adhesive cures.

    Versilok is used by MMAL on doors, boot lid and bonnet, all of which require accurate alignment between inner and outer panels, and can be the subject of customer dis-satisfaction if not accurately assembled.

    Door outer and inner panels need to be hemmed. In this process the metal edge of the outer panel is folded over to lock on to the inner panel, and this process has traditionally been done by pressing into a die.

    In roll hemming, a roller on a robot follows the edge of the panel precisely and rolls the metal over both pieces, joining them. There had been some problems getting accurate results with traditional hemming of the US Galant doors using a die, so MMAL instituted roll hemming techniques for its 380 to improve the quality of the finish of these panels.

    With a robot, MMAL can step it through the process a centimetre at a time, and can easily see where changes need to be made in its program.

    Robots go around the hem three times, at varying speed, with different size wheels, to ensure that the metal is folded precisely, without any wrinkles in the corners.

    The pressure required to fold the one centimetre hem is only 130Kg, so the fixture holding the work does not have to be massive, and there is little likelihood of distortion to the panels.

    This is the first time that robot hemming has been done outside of Japan in the MMC group world wide.

    4.4 Wheel Assembly

    Matching tyres to wheels is critical with today’s high specification and low profile tyres.

    MMAL’s previous facility was quite old and was installed at a time when 14” cross ply tyres were the norm. Consequently, it could not handle the requirements for 16” and 17” low profile tyres for the ‘380’, requiring MMAL to instal a state-of-the-art replacement facility. The new facility can now handle up to 18” X 8” wheels, and with small modifications, it can handle up to 20” wheels.

    The new facility measures radial force variation (RFV) in the wheel and tyre assembly prior to mounting on the car since this is major source of customer complaints. (this causes the tyre to vibrate as it rotates, because it has uneven stiffness around its circumference)

    The new machine inflates the tyre without touching the wheel, avoiding wheel damage on modern alloy rims.

    The new machine mounts the two beads of the tyre sequentially, with less risk of damage to either tyre or wheel.

    The new machine does automatic soaping of the wheel and tyre prior to assembly, (to ease the fitment process), and this results in less waste and no risk of the tyre slipping on the rim due to manual over soaping.

    Valves are now inserted automatically, not by hand.

    The machine tells the operator what wheel and tyre to load, and if the wrong items are attempted to be loaded, it sounds an alarm.

    The wheel balancer tells the operator which weight to pick up and fit. On the way to the assembly line, each wheel is audit balanced to make sure that the operator put the weight in the right spot. The Automatic Line Control (ALC) computer records the result and if it is not to specification the car is flagged for rectification.

    Radial Force Variation is also auto checked and the ALC is advised.

    The main benefit is less NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness)

    The installation of the new machine means that MMAL now has the ability to fit tyre pressure sensors inside the tyres when that is legislated or requested. (as it will be in USA in 2006)

    The new wheel and tyre facility is a major factor in the suspension set-up for the ‘380’, and consequently plays a significant role in achieving the great driving feel that is consistent with the car’s sporty and agile nature.

    The facility cost $A 5 million, weighs 55 tonnes and is too large to fit in a shipping container.

    4.5 Painted Body Storage

    MMAL commissioned a $7 million Inductive Power Painted Body Storage System (PBS) at its Tonsley Park operations in Adelaide in late 2004 as part of its plan to build the new Mitsubishi 380.

    The new PBS facility uses an inductive power electrified monorail system (EMS) and is the first of its kind to be used in Australia.

    Mitsubishi’s global direction for quality excellence, customer driven cost targets and rapid delivery times was the inspiration to implement the new process & facility, and is a key part of MMAL‘s new ‘Build to Order’ process.

    Customers will be able to select their preferred model style, colour and interior with the confidence in knowing they will wait half the time for their new vehicle which they otherwise would not have the luxury of doing at non-Mitsubishi dealerships.

    Designed, developed and built by WEBB AUSTRALIA, similar technology is used by automotive manufacturers in Europe such as BMW, Audi, Opel and by Hyundai in the United States of America.

    The purchase and installation of the new PBS system comes under MMAL’s $600 million investment program for the production of the new Mitsubishi 380.

    Webb Australia

    WEBB AUSTRALIA specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of automated materials handling systems, with a product range featuring automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) and electrified monorail systems (EMS).

    Founded in 1954, WEBB AUSTRALIA operates throughout Australia and South-East Asia. WEBB AUSTRALIA’s extensive industry knowledge and innovative solutions ensures swift delivery and professional maintenance of appropriate materials handling solutions.

    4.6 CANBUS

    Mitsubishi Motors introduced CANBUS into its manufacturing facility for the build of the new 380. Although not new in manufacturing facilities, some of the features implemented by MMAL are, and allow the Company to check the full history of the car during its various stages of the build, and its end-of-line confirmation.

    MMAL’s system records which operator fitted what part at various stages throughout the vehicle’s build, thereby giving a full history of the car’s build in the event of a subsequent warranty claim. This is unique to MMAL.

    The system is also used for end-of-the-line diagnostics to ensure that all functions of the car are operating as intended.

    • CANBUS, which stands for ‘controller area network’, is a serial communications protocol, designed for high-speed, real-time data communication.
    • CANBUS determines how an automobile incurs relevant performance information – essentially how and what a car says to itself.
    • An MMC iteration of an international communications protocol, CANBUS enables — via only two wires — ‘continual free discussion’ between the car’s internal computers (Electronic Control Units) and individual sensors.
    • This ‘continual free discussion’ within the automobile not only allows the car’s computers to be fully informed of the status of all functions, but the computers can interrogate the sensors to monitor, control and alert the driver (and the dealer) of imminent adverse conditions, as well as, maintain a log of all significant events.
    • The use of only two wires in this CANBUS system means there is less wiring in the loom, which is lighter and less expensive.
    • CANBUS is invisible to the driver but carries constant communications (like the Internet). This ‘Local Area Network (LAN)-on-wheels’ enables ECUs to check sensors to confirm that they are functioning properly before deciding to alert the driver with a warning light.
    • CANBUS serves as an effective diagnostic tool by allowing:
      • The dealer to confirm part number and software version; and if a later software version is available, the dealer can download it to the ECU without the cost/delay of buying a new one and replacing the old one.
      • The CANBUS dealer tester (MUT3) to diagnose physical faults in monitored systems by interrogating the accumulated in service data held by the relevant ECU. If required, this MUT 3 connects to MMAL head office to provide data on problems in the field.
      • The dealer to download information and maintain a historical record of each car.
    • Ultimately, CANBUS improves a car’s performance, safety, security and driver experience.

    NOTE: CANBUS interacts with the following Electronic Control Units in the 380 :

    • Engine
    • Transmission
    • Instrument cluster (the “brain”)
    • Air bag
    • Alarm
    • ABS

    CANBUS collects information from the following sensors:

    • Throttle position
    • Knock sensor
    • Water temperature
    • Barometric
    • Crank angle
    • O2 sensor

    4.7 Under Body Sealing

    In order to provide the best corrosion protection for the new ‘380’ MMAL installed a new underfloor sealing facility in its paint shop.

    The total length of the under body seams requiring sealing on the Mitsubishi 380 is 42 metres, compared with the 12 metres on the outgoing Magna / Verada.

    Four robots with vision systems to accurately locate the body, and apply sealant precisely on the seams, using swirl head applicators (swirl head applicators enable unlimited manoeuvrability of the robot head without slowing down) are the core of the operation. These applicators enable the robots to seal the seams quickly and track over the vehicle body in three dimensions without altering the amount of sealant applied.

    Consequently the right amount of sealant at the right consistency in the right place very quickly, with no waste is the result.

    The temperature of the sealant is regulated right to the applicator for optimum viscosity, and the flow is automatically regulated by a special control system to ensure none is wasted.

    The benefits of the new facility are:

    • consistent sealer bead width
    • accurate application to seams
    • consistent material usage with no waste
    • safer working conditions (people do not have to get under car and spray overhead into difficult places.

    The new 380 does not have a plastic trim on the rocker panel like the outgoing Magna, instead it uses a spray-on coating to absorb stone chips. Two additional robots in the sealing robot cell spray with special heads to produce a “soft” line and avoid using masking tape. It is very quick, and there is no waste or over spray.

    The total cost of the six robots was $A 2.8M

    4.8 Quality Gates

    Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) invested $1,000,000 in its new build quality process as a pivotal plank in its ‘Best quality car ever built in Australia’ claim. Internally referred to as "In Stage Quality Creation" (ISQC), the concept is to build quality into the product at every stage.

    ISQC provides the opportunity for immediate corrective action during the build process, reduces repair costs, and improves first-time capability.

    Getting the vehicle build quality right the first time is fundamental for MMAL to deliver the best quality car ever built in Australia, and to assure its dealers and customers that the vehicle doesn’t deviate from the normal build process. That means no off-line repairs, eliminating the risk of part and panel damage, and as a result being able to better guarantee vehicle delivery on-time, every time.

    Each quality gate is critically positioned within the build process to protect the quality standard and allows constant monitoring of the progressive build of every vehicle in the production line. Each quality gate provides the opportunity to capture any in-line process defects and in the event a defect is identified, it can then be immediately repaired before the vehicle continues down the line.

    Not only would a defect be identified and then rectified, but also a message is concurrently communicated back to the source of the defect, preventing re-occurrence and eradicating costly end-of-process repairs.

    The quality gates also empower MMAL’s manufacturing staff with the knowledge that the item or product handed over to the next station is of the highest possible quality standard.

    The introduction of quality gate stations have empowered operators to stop the line under certain conditions that they believe might compromise total build quality, and by doing this MMAL is involving employees in the decision making process of their own area. This increases job satisfaction, improves morale and promotes a stronger team environment.

    With a stronger emphasis on problem ownership and counter measure activity, MMAL is integrating quality into the vehicle at every stage of the process, rather than implementing corrective actions to prevent re-occurrence.

    4.9 Vehicle testing inside the factory

    One major objective with the introduction of the ‘380’ was to have the vehicle complete and correct before it left the Vehicle Assembly building. This meant that MMAL had to build a testing track inside the building, to replace its former rattle track that traversed part of the plant property.

    This had two major benefits:

    1. It would settle the springs before wheel alignment and headlight aiming. (previously, each vehicle was driven outside over bumps to settle springs after these adjustments. The vehicle was still in specification when delivered to the dealer, but it was not 100%)
    2. MMAL could conduct these tests in a controlled environment, where each vehicle would be tested under the same conditions.

    This new method will reduce complaints to dealers regarding headlight aiming and wheel alignment, as well as rattle, buzz and squeak .

    With the new track MMAL can test for rattle, buzz and squeak in a controlled indoors environment and this eliminates any variation caused by weather effects.

    As part of the testing harmonic vibration at frequencies most likely to reveal rattle, buzz and squeak are induced, and this is done by using evenly spaced ropes to induce vibration.

    Any car that receives any re-work at the end of the line in the rectification area has to go down the rattle track again to make sure the rectification process did not leave any rattle, buzz and squeak, or loose items.

    It takes 60 seconds to run down the indoor track at about 8 KPH, and is enabling us to locate and fix problems that the previous test did not.

    4.10 DC Torque Guns

    Every critical bolt on the ‘380’ has to be checked to make sure that it has been tightened properly.

    Previously, this is done by hand with a manual torque wrench that applies a dob of paint to each bolt. Then towards the end of the line an operator checks that every critical bolt has a dob of paint on it, but by that time, if there is a problem, it is not possible to know where it occurred, so that swift remedial action can be taken.

    The introduction of DC Torque Guns has the following benefits:

    • eliminate the need to hand torque
    • reduce operator fatigue from hand torquing
    • improve traceability of critical joints
    • ensure correct torque applied, for each critical joint
    • confirm that the required number of bolts have been fitted, without any missing washers, before the vehicle can be cleared from that station.

    The torque gun measures how many turns the bolt has done (i.e. it detects cross threading, missing or incorrect washer, and stripped threads and sounds an alarm if any of these events happen) and measures the torque applied. It records the data automatically against that vehicle number in the ALC records archive. This creates a traceable record for each critical bolt, that is held in that archive data-base.

    If the gun senses that the bolt has not been done up properly, it will send a message to the touch screen at the next quality gate. When the vehicle gets to that QC gate, the screen will display a photo showing the bolts which require checking.

    The QC Operator then hand torques those bolts with an RF torque wrench that sends a radio signal to the ALC confirming that the correct torque has been achieved.

    If the fault cannot be fixed, a fault code is automatically sent to the ALC and that vehicle cannot be given a quality clearance until the fault is rectified. After rectification, the system will remember this event and add it to the ALC records archive. No vehicle can pass QC at the end of the line unless all its critical bolts have been torqued correctly.

    At each station, the ALC and the vehicle transponder cross check and tell the operator how many bolts to fit, and which socket to use. If the operator tries to use the wrong socket or the wrong number of bolts, the tool will not operate, sounds an alarm and notifies the next quality gate..

    These guns operate at torques up to 300 Nm, which are very hard to check manually.

    The guns are connected to the MMAL LAN and engineers anywhere on the site can view and modify the torque required for individual bolts from their PCs.

    MMAL has installed 23 of these torque guns to tighten 150 critical bolts on the Mitsubishi 380, and these numbers will increase over coming years as it introduces about another 20 guns.

    The ALC records archive will record the manufacturing “history” of each of those 150 bolts in each vehicle.

    Although the use of these guns is quite common in Australia, MMAL is the only manufacturer making full use of IT and communications technology to keep a record on the ALC archive and alert the next quality gate.

    4.11 Servo Weld Guns

    Conventional pneumatic weld guns were not going to be suitable for the manufacture of the best quality car ever built in Australia because they are inherently slower to accelerate and need to be fully retracted in order to negotiate obstacles between welds. This increases cycle time and reduces productivity.

    Pneumatic guns also impact the surface of the work at higher velocity than servo guns, which can meet at close to zero velocity, (soft touch) because they know precisely where the work and the welding tips of the gun are.

    The introduction of servo weld guns was made possible by the introduction of a number of new robots in the body build area to accommodate the new ‘380’. They are not unique in the automotive industry, but the gathering of individual weld data in the ALC records archive is unique in Australia.

    Weld force (or squeeze) is required to hold the two pieces of metal together, and prevent liquid metal from escaping during the welding process. It can be varied precisely by servo motors to match the thickness of the material, giving a more consistent weld.

    A servo weld gun will confirm the quality and number of welds it has applied and record that data automatically against that vehicle number in the ALC records archive. This creates a traceable record for each critical weld, that is held in that archive data-base.

    A servo weld gun can also monitor electrode wear, and ask the robot to dress the tip when required.

    The two electrodes of pneumatic guns have different inertia and so will apply a motive force to the work when they make contact. This can result in deformation of the work to be welded, where-as servo guns know precisely where the work and the tips of the gun are and can squeeze equally from both sides, so there is no motive force. This means that there is more accurate assembly, and less jigs are required to hold the work steady against the pneumatic impact. Less jigs mean better access for the weld gun.

    Servo guns are quieter for the operator, (75 dB not 85dB) and do not vent polluted air into the working environment. They are more energy efficient, because no compression of air is required.

    4.12 Best Quality Car ever built in Australia

    One of Tom Phillips’ two mandates was to build the best quality car ever built in Australia. Although MMAL is well known for the quality of the cars it has built in the past, the Australian industry is catching up. Consequently, it was time for MMAL to take another quantum step in the level of quality in the cars it manufactured.

    This quality improvement is achieved by implementing a number of new manufacturing procedures, and changing the way that MMAL builds cars. Some of the more important aspects of that include:

    • New large press – Installed to stamp the body side in one piece, thereby eliminating a number of intermediate welds to multiple pieces that contribute to panel gap inconsistencies. It also contributes significantly to a more rigid body shell that reduces NVH, and provides better occupant protection in the event of an accident.
    • Painted Body Storage – This 140-car storage facility allows for more flexible customer orders by keeping a mix of the most popular bodies in storage. A customer order is able to be satisfied much more quickly by truly randomly selecting the appropriate painted body from the storage and placing it on the trim line for completion, thereby dramatically reducing the delivery time to the customer. This facility allows for genuine build to order.
    • Modular Assembly – For example, the complete assembly and testing of the cockpit module in an adjacent facility before it is delivered line-side just in time, and bolted into the car using just four bolts, ensures that the complexities are taken out of the production line. It also ensures that the module is in perfect working order before it is fitted to the car.
    • Third Party Logistics – MMAL has contracted TNT to conduct is logistical and warehousing operations for the build of the new Mitsubishi 380. Again, this has removed the complexities from the production line, and the 3PL provider has the responsibility of ensuring that all the parts required to build the cars are on site on time and in perfect condition. They also deliver line-side, just in time.
    • Wheel Assembly – MMAL has installed a A$5 million facility to allow it to fit tyres and wheels up to 20” in diameter (it was previously 16”). The new equipment also electronically balances the wheel unit and takes out the radial force variation that contributes to vibration due to uneven weight distribution on the tyre and rim.
    • Roll Hemming – The new roll hemming facility ensures that the seams around the inside of the door apertures are joined perfectly without causing stress to the body that is normally caused by spot welding. Corners of apertures doe not crease or buckle, thereby contributing to a body that is more rigid, has uniform panel gaps and reduces NVH.
    • CANBUS – The introduction of CANBUS throughout the build process, and continuing through into the diagnostic and service arena means that MMAL has a perfect record of the history of the car at all stages of its life.
    • 12-year warranty – MMAL is able to offer 12 year corrosion protection because of the new A$2.8 million robotised facility it has installed in its paint shop. Four swirl head applicator robots apply 42 metres of underbody sealant to ensure that all crevices and joins are perfectly sealed against the elements.
    • Quality Gates – MMAL has installed a number of in-stage quality gates on its production line, and each operator is empowered to stop the line if they are not satisfied with the level of quality of the car when it reaches their station. The idea is that the vehicle will be completely and correctly built when it comes of the end of the line, and be ready to be shipped to its waiting owner.

    Collectively, all of these factors, along with many others (such as the modular assembly of a number of components, the introduction of DC Torque Guns, the introduction of Servo Weld Guns, the introduction of transponders to each vehicle as it is in the build process, and the appointment of a Third Party Logistics provider etc) have contributed to substantiate the claim that the Mitsubishi 380 will be the best quality car ever built in Australia.

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