Mitsubishi has given its best indication yet of when a Lancer Evolution X replacement will land – but fans of the all-paw performance sedan will certainly have a while to wait.
Given that the Renault-Nissan Alliance purchased a beleaguered Mitsubishi Motors Corporation last year, it comes as no surprise that Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn appointed one of his own to a lofty position – and the former Nissan performance officer, and now Mitsubishi chief operating officer, Trevor Mann, was Down Under this month to speak with Australian media about the brand’s future.Asked whether a lack of a performance or halo model would be an issue for Mitsubishi going forward, especially in engaging with a younger audience, Mann replied: “I think so.”
“[But] I think it is a longer-term opportunity rather than a problem,” he continued.
“I do think that because of the heritage, because of what we’ve had as a brand, I think that it would be interesting to bring something back which is a bit more sporty in the future.”
Mitsubishi is wrestling with whether it will even replace the aged Lancer, which landed in 2007, but it will have a verdict on that by October. The brand has hinted that it may replace the Evolution X with a performance SUV, but no decision has yet been made, either.However, Mann said that he would like to see a performance Mitsubishi on the roads by 2023 – some six years away, and as part of a long-term product strategy rather than mid-term plans which he defines as three-to-six years.
“I wouldn’t say [a performance model is] less of a priority, but we’ve got to understand what our priorities are,” he continued.
“Priorities in the mid-term are the company’s overall performance, because if we don’t have strong and robust base-level financial performance, then you can’t afford some of the nice-to-haves. So that’s what we’re going to concentrate on over the next three years.
“I would say six (years) is long-term, three is mid. I would place a performance model in long-term.”Pressed about whether that would mean there would be no performance Mitsubishi in showrooms for the next six years, Mann clarified: “No no, for the next three to six. It strongly indicates that 2023 is the revised date for a next performance Mitsubishi. But what a wait for fans of the once-proud brand with its thick rallying bloodlines.