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Mitsubishi performance model delayed until 2023

Grand designs: A future Mitsubishi halo model could be an SUV, such as the Grand Tourer-Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (left) was shown at the 2016 Paris motor show.

Evolution X successor will take Mitsubishi six years to resolve

12 Jun 2017

MITSUBISHI Motors Corporation chief operating officer Trevor Mann has admitted that the company has no “mid-term” plans to offer a high-performance model, a period which he defined as within “three to six” years, leaving any chance of a Lancer Evolution X successor until 2023 or beyond.

Speaking with Australian journalists at an event in Sydney last week, Mr Mann suggested that a future “halo” model remained a clear opportunity for beleaguered Mitsubishi, but offering a high-performance model was not an immediate priority.

“I would place a performance model in long-term,” he revealed, before clarifying that, “I would say six (years) is long-term, three is mid (term).” “We have got to understand what our priorities are. Priorities in the mid-term are the company’s overall performance, because if we don’t have strong and robust base-level financial performance, then you can’t afford the nice-to-haves.

“(Renault-Nissan Alliance chairman and CEO) Mr Ghosn tends to ask his companies to develop plans of six years. So our plan is going to be three years, and is focused on recovery. That’s what we’re going to concentrate on over the next three years.” Asked whether the lack of a high-performance or halo model restricted the brand from engaging with a younger, aspirational audience, however, the COO replied: “I think so.” “(But) I think it is a longer-term opportunity rather than a problem,” Mr Mann continued.

“Some brands have created halos from a non-performance car. Take for example, the Golf in Europe. It was an aspirational vehicle for a lot of people, so I think that we have to decide what is the halo vehicle for us and how we should do it (a high-performance model).

“In a lot of countries, Pajero Sport is a halo vehicle – I personally think it’ s a great vehicle, I’m biased of course, but I think that it’s the best in the segment and in many countries where Mitsubishi is strong, it is that halo vehicle for us already.

“But I do think that because of the heritage, because of what we’ve had as a brand, I think that it would be interesting to bring something back which is a bit more sporty in the future.” Mr Mann clarified that the six-year period referred not to that after which a decision about a high-performance model would be made, but rather by 2023 the company could actually have a high-performance model back in showrooms – just not, he insisted, within “the next three to six” years.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation executives have previously said that a performance SUV could use the trick all-wheel-drive system from the Lancer Evolution X that ended production last year after being introduced in 2008.

The system, dubbed Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) and comprising an Active Front Differential (AFD) that diverts torque between the front wheels and Active Yaw Control (AYC) between the rear wheels, continued from the Evo X in an evolved form underneath the recent Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept.

The Grand Tourer-Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle was shown in September 2016 at the Paris motor show, and points not to a performance SUV, but rather a future large crossover to sit above the existing Outlander medium SUV.

Mr Mann would not, however, give any further clues about whether an SUV would be selected over a passenger car for a future high-performance model.

“You’ll have to wait and see what it is,” he teased.

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