Future Models - Mitsubishi 2014 Triton
Mitsubishi goes solo on next-gen Triton
Sole effort: Mitsubishi’s plans to co-develop the next-generation Triton ute with Nissan appear to have fallen through.
Next Mitsubishi Triton confirmed for 2014 launch followed by Challenger and Pajero
22 October 2012
MITSUBISHI Motors will launch the next-generation Triton one-tonne ute in 2014, and appears to have abandoned plans to co-develop the vehicle with Nissan.
The company’s global president, Osamu Masuko, revealed the plans for the popular Triton pick-up on his first visit to an Australian International Motor Show last week.
He said an all-new Pajero off-roader would follow about six months later and confirmed the next Challenger SUV will continue to share its separate chassis with the Triton – unlike the new Nissan Pathfinder that has moved to a car-like monocoque construction.
“When the new Triton model comes I think the Challenger should become new, too, but I don’t think the launch will be at the same time,” he said.
Nissan and Mitsubishi said in late 2010 they were discussing the joint development of their Thai-built Navara and Triton one-tonners, indicating the two workhorses were set to come off a shared platform.
However, Mr Masuko said in Sydney that Mitsubishi “does not have any plan to work with Nissan for the next (Triton) model – we will do that by ourselves”, then announced the ute’s launch timing “because so many people are here”.
From top: MMC president Osamu Masuko; Mitsubishi Pajero; Challenger.
Asked if the next Pajero will be available with plug-in hybrid technology like the new Outlander PHEV that launches in Australia next year, Mr Masuko said: “You are asking the questions that we are scratching our head and asking ourselves”.
He explained that, like the new Outlander, Mitsubishi’s upcoming vehicles are being designed to be compatible with both electrified and regular internal combustion drivetrains to give them the best chance of success depending on market.
“For example, if we were to bring Pajero to the Middle Eastern countries probably plug-in hybrid would not be the way (but) having said that, if it was to Europe or to Australia we think the plug-in hybrid might be better,” he said.
Mr Masuko also expressed surprise that the Challenger, aimed primarily at ASEAN markets, was also selling well in Russia.
“So I think it is important that (Challenger) continues to the next phase, but it is probably later than Triton,” he said.
The current Challenger was unveiled about two years after the Triton on which it is based and its Australian release was delayed until late 2009.
Mitsubishi first revealed the current shape Triton seven years ago as one of the first one-tonne utes to move away from conservative, boxy utilitarian styling.
It went on sale in Australia in July 2006 and has since averaged a healthy 1355 units per month, with occasional forays into the mid-2000s and a peak of 3043 sales in June 2009.
Mitsubishi has sold 10,207 4x4 Tritons in Australia to the end of September this year, an increase of 16 per cent, giving it an 11.2 per cent segment share and third place behind the Toyota HiLux and Nissan Navara.
Meanwhile, 4107 4x2 Tritons have been sold in the same period, down 8.4 per cent but still earning an 11.3 per cent share and fourth place in the segment behind HiLux, Holden Ute and Ford Falcon Ute.
Pajero has averaged 556 units per month long-term and sales this year are 4824 units YTD, down 5.5 per cent, while the Challenger is on 1746 units YTD, an increase of 1.3 per cent.
Mr Masuko said Australia “continues to be a very important market for Mitsubishi Motors, even more so during the challenging economic conditions that are being faced in many of our other Western markets”.
He said he expects the new Outlander SUV and Mirage light car that debuted at the Sydney motor show to “lay the foundation for a sustained period of growth for the (Australian) franchise”.