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Geneva show: Next Mitsubishi Pajero still years away

Plugged-in: The new Mitsubishi Pajero could use hybrid technology much like that used in the smaller Outlander PHEV.

Mitsubishi’s ageing Pajero will soldier on for at least another two years

6 Mar 2013


MITSUBISHI has admitted its ageing Pajero is still up to three years away from replacement, but that the new model will be significantly lighter, more advanced, efficient, and luxurious than its predecessor when it eventually arrives.

Speaking to the Australian media at the Geneva motor show this week, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation head of product and strategy development, Ryugo Nakao, said that PHEV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology is one way to help the company achieve its goals for the large SUV.

However, limited resources and greater priorities have delayed the next-generation model’s release until at least 2015.

“The current Pajero must go on for at least two to three more years,” he revealed through an interpreter.

“We are still considering how to evolve it. We are still developing a successor. It is too early to comment on a timeline (for its introduction). We are studying all pros and cons.”

Also serving as a member of the board at MMC, the Mr Nakao highlighted the fact that the next Pajero must be significantly lighter than the existing model unveiled as the NM-series in 1999.

While saying that it is too early to reveal to the public whether full monocoque construction will be adopted to help keep weight down, he did admit the vehicle would be new from the ground up.

21 center imageLeft: Mitsubishi Motors Corporation head of product and strategy development, Ryugo Nakao.

Furthermore, a plug-in hybrid solution using technology found in the new Outlander PHEV (due in Australia later in the year) is a strong possibility to help slash consumption and emissions.

Mitsubishi has previously pledged to have at least one electrified version of each model in its range by 2015.

Pajero engine choices right now are limited to a 147kW/441Nm 3.2-litre four-cylinder Di-D turbo-diesel or 184kW/329Nm 3.8-litre V6 petrol units.

“Plug-in hybrid is an option,” he said. “The Pajero (successor) is a new development and platform.” The success of the Outlander PHEV in Japan and The Netherlands – where orders are already in the vicinity of 30,000 and 5000 units respectively so far – boosts the Pajero’s chance of gaining PHEV technology.

However, Mr Nakao stressed that maintaining leading go-anywhere capability would remain central to the model’s appeal moving forward – especially in its core Middle Eastern, European, and Australian markets – even though the next-generation vehicle also needs to also be far more luxurious and refined than today’s version.

“The Pajero is our flagship,” he said.

“Off-road ability is absolutely necessary. But so is luxury atmosphere, so it will also be added.”

Ranging from $51,000 to $74,000 before on-road costs are added, the existing NW-series Pajero is still holding a top six spot in the large SUV class it competes in behind the much newer Toyota Prado, Ford Territory, Toyota Kluger, Holden Captiva 7 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, managing to find nearly 6300 homes during 2012 for a 6.1 per cent share of the market.

Only in its third iteration since the series commenced in 1982, the current-generation model that surfaced in Australia in May 2000 as the NM-series brought unique semi-monocoque body construction for improved space utilisation and on-road dynamics.

To help keep customers keen, a major facelift was undertaken in late 2006 (NS-series), while periodic titivations also help keep the Pajero fresh.

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