The Mitsuoka Rock Star is (nearly) here, with more to come from its new Singapore dealer
SINGAPORE — Maybe you don’t know any rock stars, but soon you’ll be able to drive one. Mitsuoka is making a return to Singapore, with new dealer MyCar Pte Ltd planning to put the Rock Star on sale here around April.
The retro two-seater, styled after a Chevy Corvette C2 and based on Mazda MX-5 underpinnings, will be sold alongside the Mitsuoka Viewt (below), which is a Mark II Jaguar replica built on the bones of the Nissan March.
Here’s what you need to know about Mitsuoka’s Singapore relaunch.
Who, or what, is Mitsuoka?
Founded in 1968 as a workshop, Mitsuoka branched into dealerships (it represents Audi, Lamborghini Volkswagen and other brands in parts of Japan) and later on became a carmaker in its own right.
It’s recognised as the 10th car manufacturer in Japan, but is probably best described as a coachbuilder — it specialises in taking whole cars and rebodying them, with around 50 craftsmen doing the work by hand.
What’s the idea behind that?
Mitsuoka prides itself as a “fashion maker” in the car industry, and its products are aimed squarely at those who want something different.
Mimicking classic cars also means Mitsuokas look timeless. That means they’re a way to stay fashionable without having to change cars all the time, says Tan Wee Yong, the boss of MyCar, pictured below.
“In Singapore cars are very expensive, and you can keep changing your wardrobe but if you keep changing your car it’s going to cost you a lot,” he says. “People who want to keep themselves updated with their accessories and their clothing, they can just buy a Mitsuoka and keep for it 10 years and nobody will know how old the car is.”
Mitsuoka has been here before, hasn’t it?
Yes, but without success. Figures from the Land Transport Authority show that 14 were registered in the last decade. MyCar says this time will be different.
For one thing, the company has other revenue streams — it’s a parallel importer and used car trader that also offers financing and car rentals. It won’t be operating the Mitsuoka dealership as a standalone business, so won’t incur the heavy overheads of doing so. The showroom will be carved out from MyCar’s existing premises at Automobile Megamart in Ubi, for example.
Mitsuoka itself has low expectations. “They have been in our market before, so they understand that this is not a volume game,” Mr Tan says. “They’re not pushing for any sales numbers, but as a new dealer, I’ll try to put more cars on the road for the sake of brand recognition.”
How much will the cars cost?
Hard to say. MyCar isn’t able to release pricing, but we’re guessing that if you factor in local taxes, current certificate of entitlement premiums, currency swings, wind direction and the position of Venus in the night sky, the Viewt should land at around S$100,000, while the more glam Rock Star could cost about S$200,000.
Mind you, if you want the little Corvette-lookalike you’ll have to be quick; MyCar only has 10 to sell, which is quite a feat because Mitsuoka only intends to export 20.
Will parts be a headache?
MyCar is stocking parts for the cars, but Mr Tan says that the Rock Star and Viewt are generally a doddle to upkeep. “They’re Japanese car-based, so it’s very easy to maintain them, and as for body parts, actually the pricing is very reasonable,” he tells us.
Mitsuoka’s roadster may be called a Rock Star, but it’s unlikely to be a diva.