By Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Mitsubishi is the third Japanese automobile manufactuer to design and produce an eco-model for the domestic and export markets under the Thai government's promotional scheme launched in 2006.
Suzuki Motors is scheduled to launch its own model on Wednesday. Nissan Motors was the first to produce a Thai-made eco car, the March, and Honda Motors launched the Brio last year.
Toyota Motors is expected to launch a new model for the Thai market by year-end 2012.
Manufacturers of low carbon emission vehicles enjoy reduced excise taxes, as long as they meet government requirements on fuel consumption, safety standards, engine size and production levels.
Mitsubishi Motors claimed to have lowered the Mirage's fuel consumption by reducing its weight by 7 per cent compared with other compacts in a similar 1.2-litre engine range.
"Our goal in designing the Mirage was to make a vehicle that could balance high performance and functionality by painstaking reduction in weight through almost every part of the car, down to the smallest part," said Osamu Masuko, president of Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
All eco-car models must meet European safety standards.
Thailand designed the eco-car programme to attract new investments to its automotive industry, which is already the world's second largest producer and exporter of 1-ton pickup trucks, the most popular vehicle on local roads.
The eco-car is designed for urban, cost-conscious customers. The models cost about half the price of other small sedans because of lower taxes.
Nissan's March model has been successful.
"Nissan last year produced almost 100,000 units already," said Vallop Tiasiri, president of the Thailand Automotive Institue. "I think that 60 per cent was exported to Japan."
Under the programme, manufacturers must produce at least 100,000 units by their fifth year of operation.