The Mitsubishi ASX may well play in the small SUV segment, and its new sibling the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross probably will, too – but the company reckons it needs an even smaller model to slot beneath those vehicles.
Trevor Mann, Mitsubishi Motors chief operations officer, said he thinks there’s space for a sub-ASX model on the company’s books.
“I think there is. I think that’s what we are considering in terms of our future product plan,” he said, indicating that such a model is definitely on the cards.
“Obviously the world is going more SUV, and segment-by-segment the SUVs are growing,” he said. “It’s something that obviously we will look at and we will embed in our program.”
The question was raised as to whether the brand is looking to hold off on such a model, so it can take advantage of the Alliance’s existing platforms – a Nissan Kicks (or Juke)-based model, or a derivative of a Renault Captur, for instance, could make a lot of sense.
But Mann said that even if there wasn’t a chance to share the greater cost with the parent company, Mitsubishi would address a vacant space in the market, if vital to its fortunes.
“I think at the end of the day we don’t necessarily wait,” Mann said. “We wouldn’t say ‘we’ve got this really great idea, we’ve got this fantastic concept of a vehicle, but I’m going to wait five years for an alliance platform to be developed’. We wouldn’t do that.
“If we’re developing a vehicle because we think it’s the right vehicle, we would do it, because we’ve got our own stakeholders and shareholders that we need to continue to support. Then what you would do is, to look at, well, how we would align the platforms in the future.
“If it was for the sake of ‘if you wait three months, you can share the platform’, we would wait three months. If it was 'wait three years and you can share a platform', you’d say ‘no thank you’.”
Perhaps we can expect to see something at the upcoming 2017 Tokyo motor show in October? Stay tuned.