Some reports suggest Mitsubishi may have some new cars up its sleeve after all.
For the past few years, Mitsubishi has pivoted from making passenger cars toward crossovers. The Galant and Eclipse died in the early 2010’s. While the Lancer held on for a few more years, it too met it ends end in 2017. While the entry-level Mirage is still around, Mitsubishi is focusing much more heavily on the Outlander, Outlander Sport and the new Eclipse Cross.
So, if you’re looking for a crossover, Mitsubishi has your needs pretty well covered. Globally, however, passenger cars still account for a large portion of the market. To that end, Mitsubishi is reportedly considering replacements for both the Lancer and the Mirage. Australian outlet GoAuto reports that Mitsubishi Motors COO Trevor Mann considers passenger cars “vital” to growth and profitability. As the company debuted its revamped its Triton L200 light-duty truck, Mann floated the notion of developing new cars for Asia, Europe and even the U.S.
“We’re not saying yes, we’re not saying no – but obviously we’ve got some ideas in the pipeline.”
Mann said, “…there are many medium sized sedans, particularly in ASEAN (southeast Asia) and to some extent Oceania, China and the US.” While he acknowledged the general trend toward SUVs, he also stated the company is reviewing its long-term plans. “Obviously as a brand you need entry vehicles, you need to ideally bring somebody into your brand and then walk through the brand as their lifestyle changes, be it financial or family driven.” That said, Mann didn’t outright confirm that there are new passenger cars coming down the pike. “We’re not saying yes, we’re not saying no – but obviously we’ve got some ideas in the pipeline.”
Mind you, Mitsubishi is part of a larger conglomerate. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has several passenger car platforms with which Mitsubishi could develop its next models. Carscoops reports a new Mirage is under development, and it will be on the CMF-B platform. That same platform underpins cars like the Renault Clio hatchback, the Captur crossover and the Nissan Juke, which Nissan still sells outside the U.S.
If you grew up in the Playstation generation, as indeed I did, then you remember Mitsubishi for one car and one car only – the Lancer Evolution. We lamented its passing with news of the Final Edition in 2015. However, the Lancer had danced its dance by then, and was falling behind its modern rivals. This news, however, is encouraging, as it means we could see a new Lancer at some point in the future.
Mann implied a next-generation Lancer could also move to an Alliance platform. “It wouldn’t necessarily be on the Megane platform, if we are talking about passenger vehicles, depending on the size, [the next Lancer] would be on the CMF-C platform.” CMF refers to “Common Module Family”, the platform shared among several Renault and Nissan vehicles, and Mitsubishis as well from 2019 onward.
Making a business case
Mitsubishi’s vice president of product strategy Vincent Cobee corroborated the business case for the Lancer’s return. “If we project ourselves five years, the total global market will be 110-115 million cars and the passenger cars will still represent 40-50 million,” he said. “I know all of you guys write about the growth and emergence of SUVs and it’s correct, its 35-37 percent of the total market today and it’s still growing.” However, argues Cobee, that’s not the complete picture. “That doesn’t eradicate the fact that there will be 40-50 million cars that will be passenger cars.”