Reports from Japan say that Mitsubishi Motors is considering axing the Dutch-built Carisma and Space Star by 2004.


Sales of the pair have fallen from a peak of around 100,000 units a year to 60,000 in 2001.


The Carisma was jointly developed with Volvo and shares platform componentry (and, in the past, one engine) with Volvo’s S/V40 range, which is built in the same NedCar plant.


Volvo’s sale to Ford and increased DaimlerChrysler co-operation with its 37 percent-owned Japanese partner will see Volvo assembly end and the plant become an equal Mitsubishi/DC joint venture to build a new compact car from 2004.


Mitsubishi will build 150,000 of the new cars a year and DaimlerChrysler, sharing the platform and some other components, 100,000.


The new model, expected to look much like two concept compacts shown at the Geneva motor show last week, will be launched in Japan at the end of the year.


Neither the Carisma or Space Star have been very successful in Europe though the latter, ironically, is a “tall hatchback”, spun off the Colt platform, and soon to face competition from Ford’s similar Fusion and GM Europe’s production version of the Concept M unveiled last week at Geneva.