Life was hard for the Lancer in the early days, in the 1970s the Chrysler Corporation had a much stronger relationship with Mitsubishi Motors, and the Lancer badge was originally introduced as a Chrysler Lancer.
The 70s Lancer came with a 1.4-litre 50kW four-cylinder engine, not bad for a decade which started the Japanese car invasion! However the car made its name the same way its rival, the Subaru Impreza did decades later, through countless rally victories around the world.
In 1981 Mitsubishi began selling the Lancer under its own name and since its humble beginnings in 1974, over 270,000 Lancers have sold here.
“The Lancer brand has an enviable reputation in Australia, with customers returning time and again to purchase the vehicle because of its acknowledged reliability, performance, economy and great value-for-money,” said Paul Unerkov, General Manager of Marketing at Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL).
Unlike Nissan and the forgotten Pulsar nameplate, Mitsubishi has always been adamant that the Lancer nameplate was worth keeping and the company has had over 30 years to get familiar with Lancer buyers, and during that time countless feedback forms have been filled out.
What has the company learnt from over 30 years of feedback? Mitsubishi is not shy about acknowledging the high level of consumer awareness when it comes to safety, pricing and technology.
“Given the wide range of vehicles available in the Australian market today and the popularity of motoring supplements and websites, customers are well informed on a range of new technologies, and are very conscious of safety standards, in particular,” Mr Unerkov said.
Mitsubishi says it was due to asking, reading and talking with customers and potential customers that led the company to include safety technology such as ASTC (ESP+traction control) and high levels of air bags as standard across the range.
So who exactly is Mitsubishi aiming the new Lancer at?
“Although we have a lot of return customers, there are many we are seeing for the first time and these new Mitsubishi owners are either downsizing from larger vehicles – part of the empty-nester movement – or they are informed customers who know what they want from a new car,” Mr Unerkov said.
Although in recent times, many EVO fans have turned their humble and not-so-fast Lancers into Evo look-alikes (honestly guys, its not cool!), the Lancer still enjoys a great reputation in Australia.
What do you think of the Lancer nameplate?