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Timing surrounding the launch of the next-generation Mitsubishi Lancer remains unconfirmed with the Japanese car maker focusing its resources on SUVs, plug-in hybrids (PHEV) and electronic vehicles (EV) for the medium term.

Mitsubishi’s ‘Roadmap of launching strategic models’ leaves out the Lancer for 2014 and 2015, meaning the current-generation small sedan and hatch will be close to a decade old before a replacement is released from 2016.

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Speaking with Australian media at today’s Tokyo motor show, Mitsubishi managing director of product projects and strategy group Ryugo Nakao says Mitsubishi is initially focused on what it believes are its strengths and will eventually consolidate the model line-up.

“In order to further establish Mitsubishi Motors brand, we must focus on EV and PHEV, this is because we are one step ahead of our competitors in those sectors,” Nakao-san said.

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Mitsubishi says its alliance with the Nissan-Renault group will lead to a large Holden Commodore-sized vehicle for the American market that may or may not come to right-hand-drive markets such as Australia, depending on the viability of the car’s business case.

“As you know we have announced an alliance with Renault and we are considering the introduction of a D-segment sedan for that American market. Whether we are going to introduce [this model to] Australian market, we have to make further study and if so, we’d like to [create] left-hand drive first.”

Nakao-san refused to comment on the timing for the next-generation Lancer, however he did admit that Mitsubishi is considering utilising its Nissan-Renault partnership for the vehicle.

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“[Regarding the C-segment car] we are also discussing with Renault but haven’t decided anything. We have to consider what we are going to launch in the C-segment sedan.”

Launched locally in 2007, the current-generation Lancer has been given modest updates throughout its lifecycle as its rivals have been replaced by all-new models. Mitsubishi sold 18,717 Lancers in 2011, which declined to 15,321 in 2012. That figure stands at 10,643 for 2013 year-to-date, a further decline of 22.5 percent from the same period last year.




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