The Pajero is dead, says Mitsubishi CEO
It’s true, Mitsubishi CEO, Osamu Masuko, has said the brand will concentrate on SUVs but that it will kill off the Pajero, the Lancer and the Galant.
MITSUBISHI CEO Osamu Masuko has told US automotive trade publication, Automotive News, that the Pajero, as we know it, is a dead duck. There had been rumours the Pajero, known as the Montero in the US and on sale there until 2006, would make a comeback, but no. And Masuko has pointed the finger at fuel consumption as the reason for knocking the full-size fourby on the head.
That said, the Pajero could still return in other markets, right? Wrong. He’s said the Pajero will not be developed for any market. Mitsubishi, Masuko said, will focus on the US market and developing products principally to suit it.
This means, Mitsubishi will establish a team in the US to liaise with US environment officials around emissions testing procedures, to ensure the maker can meet the needs of there strict Californian regulators. It will also look to follow other car makers and establish an R&D centre in Silicon Valley to further develop autonomous driving technology.
“The U.S. is a cutting-edge car market,” Masuko said. “There is much we can learn from being there. […] I thought it would be good to send a younger generation of employees to learn from them.”
Mitsubishi, Masuko said, plans to roll out a series of plug-in hybrid SUVs. This includes a new Outlander PHEV and a small, coupe-styled crossover which is likely to replace the Lancer, another model that has been destined for the dustbin of history. The Galant will also be discontinued.
“We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the US market. We have changed direction,” Masuko said. “We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the US.”
We sought a response from Mitsubishi Australia and it confirmed the sad news, saying it didn’t have anything else to add.
So, what do you think about the news of no more Pajero? Obviously the Pajero Sport has just arrived and it looks likely that that model is about as big and rugged as Mitsubishi will go from now on. See you in the comments.
Robert Pepper adds:
This all lines up with the answers (and non-answers) given by the president during our interview at the Toyko Motor Show, where company top brass was distinctly non-committal about the future of the Pajero. It makes sense, because the Pajero’s current platform was introduced in 2000, and fifteen years is a long, long time for any car let alone one like the Pajero which competes in a very crowded segment. In the last year or so we’ve seen Everest, Fortuner and even Pajero Sport come online into the offroad wagon market, and there’s new Discovery, upgraded Prado and others here now or on the way.
Why won’t Pajero be upgraded? I think the simple answer is lack of development dollars. Sure, the segment is crowded, but the Pajero name is very, very strong, so much so an outdated model still sells to loyal owners. Development would need to be substantial to address things like the still-poor NVH, 5-speed auto, aged diesel, outdated interior layout and seats, and it’s clear Mitsubishi don’t have the cash for it.
Instead, there will be Pajero Sport and I think that’s a fine vehicle to carry on the name. I do wonder why the Pajero Sport wasn’t simply named Pajero, as killing off the Pajero Sport’s predecessor, the Challenger would have made more sense. Maybe because the Sport has a live rear axle and therefore would be seen as a technical backwards step to the fully-independent Pajero? Who knows, but regardless of the analysis this is sad, sad news.
We have a full roadtest of the current model Pajero here.