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Future models - Mitsubishi - Pajero Sport

Name switch planned for Mitsubishi Challenger

Name game: The Challenger will make way for the Pajero Sport when Mitsubishi’s all-new Triton-based wagon arrives in Australia, possibly just in time for Christmas.

Mitsubishi Australia set to adopt Pajero Sport name for Challenger replacement

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Mitsubishi logo21 Oct 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) next week is expected to officially confirm a switch of names from Challenger to Pajero Sport when it launches the new generation of its Triton-based off-road wagon late this year.

For now, the rugged Thai-built 4x4 vehicle is being called “Mitsubishi’s new large SUV” or the “Challenger replacement” in Mitsubishi correspondence.

However, GoAuto understands the Australian arm of Mitsubishi is set to fall into line with international markets by adopting the global name, Pajero Sport, thus placing the vehicle under the halo of the well-known Pajero nameplate.

Although the Challenger replacement had been expected to arrive in Australia in early 2016, MMAL is pulling out all stops to have the vehicle in Australian showrooms for Christmas, just after the local media launch in December.

The diesel-powered wagon will do battle against a growing fleet of ladder-chassis 4x4 rivals, including Toyota’s new HiLux-based Fortuner, Ford’s Ranger-based Everest, Isuzu’s MU-X and Holden’s Colorado 7.

The Pajero Sport was unveiled in August in Thailand where it will be built alongside the Triton for world markets.

While the Challenger replacement will share the Pajero name, the full-sized Pajero SUV flagship will continue, presumably with an all-new replacement at some point.

Mitsubishi Motors showed a large SUV concept, the GC-PHEV – standing for Grand Cruiser Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle – at the 2013 Tokyo motor show, with many pundits suggesting it foreshadowed the next-generation Pajero.

So far, there has been no sign of the production version of that vehicle, but a new Pajero is expected to be somewhere in the pipeline to replace the current model that has done duty since 2000, albeit with major refreshment in 2006 and 2008.

Mitsubishi has announced that it is planning to focus on SUVs in future, not only playing to its own strengths but also taking advantage of what it expects to be 30 per cent growth in global SUV sales.

The company is expected to spell out more of its plans at the Tokyo motor show next week where it is scheduled to unveil the all-electric eX Concept SUV that will provide a glimpse at Mitsubishi’s latest Dynamic Shield styling direction as well as its newest electric vehicle technology.

Included in those plans will be more details of the Australian roll-out for the Challenger replacement, including confirmation of the name switch to Pajero Sport.

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