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Mitsubishi van to reprise Express moniker

Express nameplate confirmed for Renault-based Mitsubishi van ahead of mid-2020 debut

5 Dec 2019

MITSUBISHI’S first van to be sold in Australia since 2013 will reprise its predecessor’s Express nameplate when it launches here around the middle of next year.

 

Speaking with GoAuto at the MY20 Outlander PHEV launch in Canberra this week, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) president and CEO John Signoriello confirmed speculation that the Renault Trafic-based mid-size van will be badged Express.

 

Renault Australia’s recent introduction of a dual-clutch automatic transmission option for the most powerful Trafic variants serves as a well-timed opportunity for Mitsubishi to offer a self-shifter from launch with the Express.

 

The Trafic is built at Renault’s Sandouville facility in northern France and is already rebadged by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance partner Nissan as the NV300.

 

It is also built for Fiat, which uses the Talento nameplate, but this could soon change given parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is on a path to merge with Renault’s arch-rival, fellow French auto giant PSA Group. 

 

Former General Motors brands Vauxhall and Opel previously sold rebadged Trafic vans as the Vivaro in Europe but switched this year to modelsbased on the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert twins from within PSA that absorbed GM’s European brands in late 2017.

 

As such, Renault will welcome the additional volume it can secure from churning out Mitsubishi Express versions of its van for export to markets such as Australia where it lacks the level of brand recognition enjoyed by its Japanese counterpart.

 

Mr Signoriello told GoAuto MMAL’s shift toward light-commercial vehicles and SUVs had been timely in the face of a declining passenger car market.

 

“Our plans in the last three years to focus on LCV and SUV was the right plan, so we’re taking advantages of the opportunity that’s brought,” he said.

 

The previous-generation Mitsubishi Express was discontinued in 2013 due to a poor one-star performance in Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) crash safety testing.

 

In Euro NCAP testing, the current-generation Trafic scored just three stars due to being penalised for front occupant and pedestrian protection.

 

It has not yet been rated by ANCAP, but the Express could come under scrutiny locally due to higher volume expectations brought by the Mitsubishi brand.


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