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Next-generation Mitsubishi ASX ‘not far’

Mighty mouse: Mitsubishi’s current-generation ASX has been on sale in Australia since 2010 with a number of revisions since, but is currently the top-seller in the sub-$40,000 small SUV segment with 16,473 units moved in the first 10 months of 2018.

Ageing Mitsubishi ASX to be replaced, will not be badge-engineered Alliance model

12 Nov 2018

By TUNG NGUYEN in BANGKOK

THE successor to Mitsubishi’s long-running ASX small crossover – currently the most-popular vehicle in the sub-$40,000 small-SUV segment – is “not far” from being revealed, according to Mitsubishi Motors Corporation corporate vice-president of product strategy Vincent Cobee. 
 
At the new Triton’s international launch in Bangkok, Mr Cobee told Australian journalists the brand’s new small SUV would not simply be a rebadged version of Alliance partners Nissan or Renault – like Mitsubishi’s incoming van that will be a version of the Renault Trafic – as the ASX is one of its core models.
 
“We should be very clear on what is an opportunity and what is a core model,” he said.
 
“Providing a mid-sized van to the Australian market is an opportunity our distributors and dealers have been asking for many, many years because it fits the offering of Triton.
 
“We found a way to make it (work) with Renault and we are doing it, (but) when you talk about ASX, when you talk about Triton, when you talk about Outlander, you’re talking about the core.
 
“So with the core, we take control of the development, we share assets, but we don’t share cars.
 
“When you talk about opportunity – we could call them tactical opportunities – like a mid-sized van, then we have a much lower level of investment because we want to be quick, and honestly, this is just a tactic.”
 
However, Mr Cobee also revealed that the ASX could share a Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance platform, possibly the same one that underpins the Renault Kadjar and Nissan Qashqai, but he maintained that the small SUV will have its own distinct flavour.
 
“We’ll maximise the use of technology, but what is very interesting for us, is we are a very clear brand … straightforward, reliable, confident dynamics of Mitsubishi versus any other brand,” he said.
 
“We can borrow assets from the Alliance, but we want to cook them in a way that represents the Mitsubishi brand.
 
“When it comes to technology, when it comes to platforms or platform components, we share as much as possible to ensure modernity, (but) when it comes to development, we will keep it to ourselves.”
 
Although timing for the new model is still unclear, Mr Cobee revealed the next Mitsubishi model to be updated will be the Triton-related Pajero Sport large SUV before the company turns its full attention to refreshing other models.
 
“As you can imagine we are in the process of rejuvenating all those cars one after the other, today is Triton, you can imagine the pick-up-based SUV will follow soon in months or so,” he said.
 
“We are working on the next Outlander, which will come in some years … so we launched Eclipse Cross, we launch Triton, we touch on Pajero Sport, and then the two missing ones are Outlander and ASX, and they will come in continuation, so we’re talking some years, but not a lot of years.”
 
Mr Cobee told Australian journalists that the ASX SUV is one of the brand’s core pillars, and is crucial to the brand’s plans for increasing its share and profitability.
 
“To be very clear … if you look at the current line-up of Mitsubishi, we have five cars that really drive the business and the brand – pick-up (Triton), Pajero Sport, Outlander, Eclipse Cross and the car you call ASX,” he said.
 
“What is impressive in Australia is that in spite of its longevity in the market, it is still an extremely capable, straightforward, capable, roomy and competitive vehicle.”
 
The ASX is currently Mitsubishi’s second-best selling model in Australia behind the Triton with a 7.5 per cent lift in new registrations to 16,473 in the first 10 months of the year.
 
Topping the sales charts in a segment that has grown 23.4 per cent this year means the ASX holds a clear lead ahead of the Mazda CX-3 (13,923), Nissan Qashqai (11,619) Subaru XV (11,419), Hyundai Kona (10,558) and Honda HR-V (10,313).

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