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Future models - Mitsubishi - Lancer

Facelift coming for Mitsubishi Lancer

Face up: The updated Lancer is likely to carry Mitsubishi’s new Dynamic Shield face when it arrives later next year.

Mitsubishi Lancer to get new corporate face, but long-term future still uncertain

Mitsubishi logo17 Apr 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

MITSUBISHI’S ageing Lancer small-car range will get a much-needed boost next year with the arrival of a late-life facelift featuring the company’s new corporate identity.

As part of the update, the Lancer is believed to be getting Mitsubishi’s latest Dynamic Shield face, a design language previewed by the XR-PHEV and GC-PHEV concepts from the 2013 Tokyo motor show, and more recently seen in production guise on the just-launched Outlander.

The current-generation Lancer arrived at the start of 2007 and, despite a number of tweaks to styling, equipment and trim levels, has remained largely unchanged.

In the eight years since it launched, every one of its competitors in the sub-$40,000 small-car segment has had a full model change, with some, including the Mazda3, having two new-gen models launch in that time.

In late 2013, Mitsubishi announced its New Stage 2016 strategic plan that would see the car-maker focus on developing SUVs, light-commercials and plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains, while it would farm out its passenger car development to another global car-maker, the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Despite plans to share a C-segment small car based on the next Renault Megane –the most likely source of the next Lancer – reports earlier this year suggested that the joint venture talks had broken down, leaving Mitsubishi without a partner and without a Lancer replacement.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) executive director of marketing Tony Principe told GoAuto at the Outlander media drive in New South Wales last week that there was confusion within the company as to whether the joint venture had indeed fallen through, adding that the local arm would have to “sit back and wait and see what they do”.

Mr Principe said MMAL would continue to push the Lancer and the smaller Mirage – which is also due for a facelift at about the same time – but acknowledged that the updated Lancer would help.

“So at this stage, we are obviously trying to keep a certain position with the Lancer and the Mirage and still maintain a viable volume base, which we are doing.

“We have got a facelift coming up on the Lancer towards the back end of this (Japanese) financial year, same with the Mirage. We think we can keep going.

“The car is still competitively priced, still competitively specified. MMC is obviously putting a lot of its resources to SUV and LCV, and at some stage they will turn their attention to other areas, but in the meantime we have just got to do what we can do.”

Last year, Mitsubishi shifted 10,033 Lancers in Australia, a 12 per cent dip over the 2013 result, but it still outpaced the likes of the Honda Civic (7878), Kia Cerato (6679), and Hyundai Elantra (8779).

This is well off the pace of the current-gen model’s best sales year in 2010, when 23,076 Lancers found homes in Australia.

Meanwhile, little is known about the Mirage facelift, and it is unclear whether it will inherit some of the new design language that is expected to creep over to the updated Lancer.

Other new-gen models expected from Mitsubishi are the second-generation ASX crossover, previewed by the XR-PHEV concept, that is due in the 2016 Japanese fiscal year (April 2015-March 2016) and the Pajero, which is still about three years off.

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