Mitsubishi is not developing successors for Lancer and Pajero

What’s wrong with Mitsubishi? Are they crazy? How are such decisions even made? These are the questions ringing in our minds right now. And we’re sure we aren’t alone here. There are, probably, thousands of enthusiasts all across the globe thinking on the same lines.

Not so long ago, Mitsubishi dropped a bombshell that a successor to the highly-successful and much-loved Lancer and its sporty Evolution series, or ‘Evo’ as its fondly called, isn’t on the cards. After 10 iterations and almost 25 years in the market, the Evo is a car that has a legacy of plastering smiles across the faces of those behind its wheels. Its not a surprise then the Lancer and Evo have legions of fans worldwide, us included. As shocking as the decision was, it at least made sense as Mitsubishi wanted to focus on its strengths – SUVs, 4WDs and Electric Vehicles. The Japanese brand, whose automotive revenues and volumes are just a fraction of Toyota, Honda and Nissan, apparently didn’t have funds to undertake development of an all-new generation of Lancer independently and its search for a partner was taking it nowhere. The Lancer is doomed.

And now, if reports from a leading US-based automotive publication is to be believed, Mitsubishi has sealed the fate of its popular Pajero SUV too with no successor on the cards. No, they aren’t ceasing production yet but the nameplate would be consigned to the history books once the current-generation model is taken off the production lines. Now, what the heck is that? Didn’t Mitsubishi say its focus would be on SUVs and 4WDs going forward? Isn’t Pajero (badged Montero in some markets) its most recognizable SUV? How does these two even add up? 

Yes, the Pajero is old, heavy, guzzles gas and is nowhere as agile as its modern competitors. But its sturdy underpinnings, rock solid reliability and supreme off-road ability has, over the years, earned the Pajero scores of fans. The current-generation model has been on sale since 1999 and in the same time frame, the Toyota Land Cruiser has gone through three generation changes. All that the Pajero needs is a revamp, albeit a significant one! Why wouldn’t the Pajero be denied a chance to get its mojo back and win back customers?  

In established markets like the USA, China and Europe, Mitsubishi isn’t really setting the sales charts on fire. In the growing markets, the situation isn't remarkably better either. It’s clear Mitsubishi has to take some drastic steps and reorganize itself if it wants to make money selling cars and be relevant in the automotive industry. While the Outlander PHEV and the all-new Pajero Sport are steps in the right direction, killing two of the most-desirable models in the lineup isn’t going to help Mitsubishi do what it intends to. 

Now, will someone convey this to the top bosses at Mitsubishi?

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