Mitsubishi Australia representatives hosed down any idea the three-door, which is so popular with off-roaders and grey nomads, would return to the new car market.
"The five people who love it, once they buy the three-door, [that's it], they’re all gone,” Mitsubishi Motors Australia Head of Product Planning James Tol told CarAdvice, with a laugh, at the launch of the 2017 Outlander PHEV.
“In reality, there aren’t that many people that want it, despite what the appearance of demand might be. It might bring people into the showroom, but they drive out in a five-door.”
Mitsubishi Motors Australia Executive Director of Marketing Tony Principe was no more enthusiastic about the prospect of seeing the three-door here.
“We tried it, we sold a few, but once the fans buy it, there’s not much more there,” Principe said.
“It ran for quite a while in Australia, and we have tried to make it work before, but once that volume starts to decline, it’s quite hard to sell the idea in Japan. We don’t want head office saying nasty things like ‘we’ll send you the bill to engineer it and make it ADR compliant’!”
Speak to off-roaders and Mitsubishi fans in general, though, and you’d think the demand would be overwhelming. Sadly, that isn’t the reality and all major off-road manufacturers have tried the SWB model in Australia, with only the Jeep Wrangler having any real long-term success.
“By itself, it definitely looks cool, but in reality it isn’t that much cheaper than the the five-door to either manufacture or sell and, while it sounds cool to buy the three-door, most people end up buying the five-door,” Tol said.
“Even our main competitors tried it and the reason it doesn’t work is that it can't sustain the right volume.”
It looks like values of second hand three-door Pajeros will stay right where they are for the foreseeable future then.