by Daniel DeGasperi

The new-generation Mitsubishi Lancer has been delayed until 2014, around two years behind schedule.

Although the usual five-year Japanese model lifecycle has been used for the past three generations of Mitsubishi Lancer – the 1992 CC, 1997 CE, and 2002 CG – the current CJ series will need to serve a seven-year tenure after economic conditions forced new model development off track.

Speaking at the local launch of the new Outlander, Mitsubishi product manager James Tol said the company needed to prioritise certain projects and delay others.

“There’s a whole lot of reasons why [Lancer is delayed]. The GFC, that’s part of it. You’ve got to prioritise where you put your [development] money. So from our point of view, we probably prioritised more towards profitable SUVs.”

Tol did, however, confirm that a new Lancer is on the cards for “sometime” in 2014 and that Australia “won’t be lagging behind other markets” when it comes to an arrival date on our shores.

A hybrid Lancer is also a certainty, according to Mitsubishi senior executive of sales Juyu Jeon, with a plug-in electric vehicle likely only if business case stacks up.

“Plug-in hybrid will be the best solution,” said Jeon-san. “It might be modified plug-in hybrid. Might be [normal] hybrid. We don’t have the answer at this stage. [But] there will be one.”

Meanwhile Outlander project development manager Mitsuyoshi Hattori confirmed that Mitsubishi is preparing a Lancer concept car that will likely debut at the Tokyo motor show in late 2013.

“We are studying about a new Lancer concept,” said Hattori-san.

The development chief refused to comment on the next-generation Lancer Evolution, but did point to the use of an all-electric racer at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb as an example of how electric power can be a valid replacement for turbocharging. Hattori-san also exaplained that while it is “unlikely” the car will be a conventional all-wheel-drive turbo model, there are challenges with accommodating both environmental legislation and incorporating technology affordably.

“[We’re looking at] not only the power and acceleration, but the environment.

“[Electric motor is] certainly one of the options. But if the performance of the vehicle is not meeting the expectations, then what is the point of making the car?”

Australian sales of the current Lancer have dropped significantly over the past two years. In 2010, the small sedan averaged 2000 sales per month; this year to November it has averaged 1300 units. Tol concedes that the car is the oldest contender in its segment, already tallying a five-year vintage, but hopes a renewed product strategy will keep sales steady over the next 12 to 18 months.

“What we’re trying to do with the Lancer, knowing where it is in its product life, is instead of chasing volume, we’re trying to chase a better sales mix.

“We’ve launched a new LX, and at $23,990 you’ve got a vehicle with leather seats and power seat. So instead of fighting everyone with the dirty $19,990 thing, we’re trying to sell a better mix of cars.

“For not a lot of outlay you get a lot more premium features.”

  • Tex

    What a fantastic idea Mitsubishi; relocate the resources to where it was needed most. The problem is however that your most recent Mirage and Outlander are not up there with the competitors, so you’re failing yet again. When you then think that your Japanese competitor, the Mazda3, is set to be Australia’s top selling car again… it is an odd choice to miss a two year opportunity on representing the segment.

    • Zaccy16

      agreed, the current lancer is way behind rivals but their new models are behind as well!

  • F1orce

    Why are Mitsubishi’s so popular in Australia?

    They’re such rubbish products in every respect.

    • Maximark2601

      I heard many bad things about them too, but after reading many Mitsubishi owners’ satisfied experiences with their cars I wouldn’t mind to own one. They even have better warranty than the Hyundai, so they wouldn’t back their products for that long if they are not reliable. The only think Mitshubishi is not happy with their car is the paint quality ( too thin coated). The Lancer will lose a lot of sale if they delay the new model for another year I think.

    • Kampfer

      Long warranty and capped price servicing.

      Their cars are not the top of their classes but certainly not too bad.

    • Daniel Quaile

      Our 2008 Lancer VRX was a PITA. The dash was removed at least 3 times to find a rattle. Door trims were removed and rubber tape installed to fix even more rattles, and the ride was too harsh for everyday driving.
      I can’t argue with the features it had, but would not go near another Mitsubishi anytime soon.
      The extra long warranty they used to offer has now been scrapped since the bulk of customers are not keeping their cars that long.

      • Pete

        I have just sold a VR with trouble free 160000 klms .
        I would have purchase another if it was a different shape.
        This was the second Lancer I have owned  both trouble free with high Klms

  • Ozzi

    my mate likes his new lancer

    not a bad car very stylish

  • jr

    I was a fan but they have lost the plot

  • 42 = The Answer

    They need to get with the times and do rolling updates to the car over its life span. Simply adding chrome, changing the wheel designs and adding metal-like dash trim doesn’t qualify as an update.

  • Martin

    Following the Getz’s lead by being the oldest in its respected segment. Guess that payback period for investment is well and truly over so it’s probably not a bad position to be in if they can’t afford the investment into a new model. I assume we’ll be seeing a few limited edition models or “extra features” models to maintain the momentum.

  • John

    “The company needed to prioritise some projects and delay others”.

    I don’t get it. The Lancer would have to be one of Mitsubishi’s core models, why would they prioritise other models (such as, I assume, the Mirage)?

    This may cost them dearly, as by the time the new Lancer comes out you would have to suspect the current model Lancer will be selling close to zero. To re-establish themelves in a super-hot market segment full of very competent cars Mitsubishi are going to have to ensure the new Lancer is a cracker of a car – either that, or dirt cheap.

  • JooberJCW

    I can’t judge their decision as what we see here in aus as it seems that our purchasing trends a quite different to the world. Given we import these cars and a negligible market because of size times competition, I wonder how popular the lancer is overall around the world vs the sale of the outlander and any other suv.

    also remember they are putting efforts to their new micro car, the small global too.

  • Able

    No wonder Mitsubishi has no money, a 5-year life cycle is just stupid! 7 is a much more realistic figure and they’re stupid to think that it’s a bad thing that it’s supposedly been ‘delayed’. If only Mitsubishi would give the Lancer a proper facelift, instead of giving it more features and lowering the price. It desperately needs a 6-speed manual, as well as a diesel option and an exterior update wouldn’t harm it either. The AWD model available in the US would be an interesting addition to the lineup too but really, a new Lancer isn’t going to help sales massively. You need a mid-sized saloon/estate car, a new Triton, a hatch in between the Mirage and Lancer (bring back the Colt and especially the Ralliart) and something else. Your current lineup is not enough; there are gaping holes in it.

    If only they’d bring back the Airtrek Turbo R…

  • MisterZed

    Wrong again CA!! The CE Lancer came out in June 1996, not 1997. The CG came out in July 2002, which means the CE had a lifespan of 6 years and 1 month. However, the CE continued to sold alongside the CG throughout the remainder of 2002, while leftover stock (mostly coupes) was even sold into 2003. So Mitsubishi’s lifecycles are not always 5 years.


    Man you guys here must be running your own successful car companies since you know so much of what mitsubishi is doing wrong

    • John

       Uh, no, just consumers who have an opinion. Though sometimes, a car maker’s customers have a better feel for where a company is going wrong than the company itself. Not saying that’s the case here though.

  • Dave

    i have owned several mitusbishis  (including a lancer which i put 200000km  on which was a CH 2.0L) and have never had a single complaint with any of mine. Ive also worked for them as well as Ford, Holden and Hyundai and our warranty claim-per-car for mitsi was about 1/10th as it is for ford and holden (to be fair hyundai is about the same)

  • Luke Brinsmead

    The Lancer is so old now, it’s like flogging a dead horse.

    • k

      lol – a little correction – 😀 Old horse yes still dishes out a lot of power good enough to give a run for the other younger ones

  • Geoff shung

    I have been driving my CJ LANCER for  nearly 2 years , my  praze goes out to mitsubishi for being able to  produce a car straight up with such good wheel aligment .
     @c95e1539f0fd6953ef79714db85952f7:disqus I am a retied motor mechanic and on long trips 700klm plus, the seating ergonomics combined with the good no pull steering ,excerlent curuise control  ,make driving CJ LANCER 2011 enjoyable. 
      If mitsubishi change the driving characteristics in a new modle a lot of curent CJ LANCER will be hanging on to their old ones.

  • Erixon84

    After having a 2008 Lancer and NEVER giviing me problems, i bought a 2012 Outlander and i love it.
    My Lancer was extremely reliable and all i did was basic maintenance. Never did the car leave me stranded.
    I sold it with 85k miles and the car kept running good, i still speak with the owner.

  • Alexrg75

    I have mine since 2010 from the dealer,,and i could easly wait whatever time they take to create another wonder like this current model,,,I don’t think it’s the best car ever but by far onnthismprice range is among the best,,,and the design still rules,,,a very happy lancer owner,,,,,,

  • mike

    I have a 2002 lancer with 220,000 miles on it and going strong!

    • K

      i have a 1998 model and still going strong with about 150,000 miles – still get about 17/ltr on highways and about 13-14 in bumper to bumper traffic

  • Ness

    We have had 4 lancers including the 30th anniversary.alas just been written off & have had absolutely no issues at all. Waiting on vrx 2014 to come off boat as replacement.5 out if 7 air bags went off I was so lucky to only receive bruises. So yep we love our lancers.

  • Mo

    rally champion = lancer. great car. low price. long warranty. best compact sedan. yet stylish. Lancer evo really good car like to Nissan GTR.

  • Lancer owner

    You complain about ride comfort yet you bought a VRX with stiffer suspension and lower profile tyres…..
    Sorry about the rattle yours had, mine is quiet.

  • Craig

    I’ve owned a CC coupe for just one 20 year and have no major complaints, of course over that time it’s had the usual problems with any aging car but it’s still my main days drive and a fun little car getting similar fuel economy of the current Lancer.

    I can’t wait for the new model/shape to come out, I might finally upgrade.

  • mike l

    I worked for Mitsubishi 06-12 I can say that of the 4 Japanese auto makers I’ve worked for there reliability rate was the best, all the passenger cars built in Japan post 2000 are very well built. The current situation Mitsubishi is in actually dates back to the Asian market crisis in the late 90’s that effected mmc worse than others, they then got hit again in 2008 as they had just released lancer, pajero, I car and outlander ad triton had only been out 2 years into a major recession