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Mitsubishi is expected to launch the next-generation Mitsubishi Triton ute in 2014, six months before the all-new Mitsubishi Pajero large SUV is scheduled for release.

Mitsubishi has also confirmed that the next-generation Triton will be developed and designed independently without any partnership with Nissan, as had been rumoured.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) president, Osamu Masuki, confirmed at today’s Sydney motor show that the next-generation Triton is already in the works and that the popular ute is expected to debut in 2014. It remained unclear as to when during that year the vehicle would be ready, which may mean the Pajero’s release gets pushed to 2015.

So far this year over 14,000 of the Thai-built Triton 4×4 and 4×2 variants have been sold in Australia but the model is facing tough competition from newer rivals such as the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and the Volkswagen Amarok.

As for the Mitsubishi Challenger SUV, Masuki confirmed that an all-new version is under development as part of the Triton family. He admitted that the Triton-based Challenger sells best in Asian markets as well as Russia. It remains unconfirmed as to when the next generation Challenger will be unveiled, but we suspect it would be in 2015 following the Triton’s launch a year earlier.

The decision to stick with a ute based SUV is a different approach to Nissan, which earlier this year unveiled a new and softer Pathfinder model which shares little with the Navara ute.