The newly unveiled Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross may lend itself to a sportier Ralliart variant in the short-term future if there is market demand, the model’s project leader says.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the Geneva motor show this week, Hiroshi Yamauchi, the boss of small- and medium-segment vehicles at Mitsubishi, admitted that a Ralliart model will be one option the brand could take with its recently launched Eclipse Cross, however he insisted that there would be no Evolution model.
“[Ralliart would be] one option.” Yamauchi said.
“But we want to get market feedback, then I will decide which direction it should be… I can do that [Ralliart], but it depends on the market feedback.”
“Ralliart version is one option, but the Evolution [there] is no plan, because Evolution is completely different from sporty - it’s sports, not just sporty.”
According to Yamauchi, the demands of stringent fuel and emission requirements must be taken into consideration, which is hindering the potential for more performance from the turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
“[For the Ralliart version we would like] to improve the torque, much more sporty, that is my expectation. But of course fuel economy is much more important so I am not sure which direction is appropriate for new Eclipse Cross.”
He also hinted that a three-door variant of the Eclipse Cross may also be on the cards if there is sufficient market demand to justify the re-engineering work required for the vehicle.
As for the future of Mitsubishi sports cars in general, it appears the future may be somewhat dim for the short to medium term, with the company’s chief operating officer, Trevor Mann, admitting that it must get its core models in order before it looks further afield.
“I wouldn’t say [sports cars] are no longer on the radar.” Mann told CarAdvice. “It’s something that is part of our heritage, but we have to understand what is the right thing to do, and how we make a sustainable future.
"And when you have a sustainable future you can have the nice-to-haves. We have to make sure we have a very strong and robust model line-up that can sustain all the other things that we would like to do.”