Mitsubishi Motors is no longer planning any development of sedans, meaning replacements for core models such as the aged Lancer won’t materialise for years — if at all.
The decision to freeze sedan development in the face of stiff competition, and to focus on SUVs, comes on the heels of Mitsubishi’s proposed co-operation with Renault to source C- and D-segment cars — a plan that has now fallen through.
As well as the next-generation Lancer, the company stance means a belated successor to the Galant/380 mid-sizer is off the table too.
We caught up with Mitsubishi Motors president and COO Tetsuro Aikawa at the Geneva motor show last week.
“Unfortunately, for a while we are not planning any development of sedans,” he said.
“While I’m the president probably no introduction of the next-generation Lancer… we will continue to sell current Lancer.
“There are two reasons for that. One of the reasons is because, concerning the investment on development, we’d like to concentrate on SUV, PHEVs and EVs. That’s one reason.
“The second reason is because sedan, in the world, is a very high competition at the moment and it’s very difficult to come up with a profit.”
Pictured: Mitsubishi XR-PHEV II concept, revealed in Geneva last week as a preview for the new ASX.
The statements from the Mitsubishi chief come after similar comments we received from the company late last year, though the collapse of the mooted deal with Renault appears to have put another nail in the Lancer’s coffin.
“A year ago, we did a feasibility study on a joint venture with Renault, but it was not a win-win scenario so we decided to stop. That is one evidence showing the sedan business is very difficult,” Aikawa-san added.
This also means no new traditional Evo is in sight, though as we reported last week, Mitsubishi wants to create a plug-in hybrid SUV with vast power reserves to wear the hallowed badge.
“We’re not going to engage in new development of sedans any more, so as sedan Evo will not be developed in future. But we understand a lot of people’s expectations towards Evo,” Aikawa-san said.
The current Lancer dates back about eight years, a time period in which most rivals have replaced their small-car offerings with new-generation versions at least once. Despite this, Aikawa said there was not yet any plan to cease production of the current Lancer.
Expect, then, to see the familiar shape persevere for a while yet, likely with increasing levels of equipment or reduced pricing.