Car News

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.

Find the best demonstrator car deals for Practical Motoring readers around Australia on our Live Deals website. 


  1. thedavemiester
    December 3, 2015 at 2:17 pm — Reply

    My dad will be devastated. This always seemed like his perfect car. Not for me though.

  2. trackdaze
    December 3, 2015 at 2:52 pm — Reply

    the only bright spot for Mitsubishi has been the outlander phev, which isn’t in the states and the triton/challenger which isn’t in the states!

    Something tells me the CEO wasn’t happy with the direction or group think going on around pajero project and canned it at the first opportunity. it will be a clean sheet in the states, I think and if Mitsubishi are smart they need to game change and build a fully capable electric/ range extender 4×4
    The jv with Bosch and century yuasa won’t have a battery capable to support a large suv plug in until 2020. This us studio will be a means to wrap a vehicle around that.

    Whether pajero sport morphs into pajero shoes is yet to be seen.

  3. Tahir Usman
    December 3, 2015 at 3:56 pm — Reply

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.Pile of unreliable underpowered overheating crapp!Only an idiot would buy one over a Toyota or a Nissan!Go the Toyotaaaa!

    • Adam Howley
      December 3, 2015 at 7:12 pm — Reply

      This is why i will never be seen dead in a Toyota.

      • Chris Keating
        December 3, 2015 at 11:42 pm — Reply

        On the positive side, Toyota send such polite recall letters. And they send them so often; the constant contact really helps customers bond with the company…

  4. godafoss
    December 3, 2015 at 11:38 pm — Reply

    Mitsubishi should have folded gracefully with the GFC. The quality of their cars now is second rate, they have little R&D budget and the designs are horrible, although that is a common theme from Japan, and Nissan and Toyota are much worse. I wouldn’t touch a Mitsi with a barge pole these days.

  5. Mystronite
    December 19, 2015 at 10:25 am — Reply

    Now , since they decided to kill pajero , I’m curious, what about us the previous model owners , and what about spare parts , will it continue to be available, we have in the family 2010 , 2008 models , what about our car spare parts .

    • December 19, 2015 at 4:28 pm — Reply

      Don’t worry, there will be lots and lots of spare parts especially as the Pajero has had such a long history with the current model.

  6. Mistermustard
    January 27, 2016 at 6:21 pm — Reply

    This reminds me of Toyota, when they stopped the AE86(Rear-drive with 4AGE-engine) and AE82(Front drive “Avante” Twincam 4AGE-engine). They also stopped the evolution of the Celica GT4. What were they thinking going from the Mr2-Mark2 to the Mark3. And last but not the least, killing the Supra. That said, when I was younger, I had an AE82 with a 4AGE engine and loved it. When I wanted to move “up” from a Corolla, there were no “exciting” sedans or “sporty” vehicles (the 2ZZ-GE did not stack up). Now that I couldn’t be bothered with a Toyota, they release the “82”. I’ll give them 5/10 for that(4cyl normally aspirated), but their loyal supporters(including me) have moved on. After 15 years, they will have to release something extremely special before I even look at any Toyota again. Now, Mitsubishi is killing the Pajero/Shogun and the Lancer (does that include the Evo? ). Mitsubishi will loose more than the Pajero and Lancer buyers-all their sales will sadly fall dramatically.

    • January 27, 2016 at 6:47 pm — Reply

      What about the Toyota 86 and FJ Cruiser? Cool Toyotas, no?

      Evo is dead. We reviewed the last one just recently.

  7. Mistermustard
    February 9, 2016 at 4:51 pm — Reply

    My apologies, in the middle of my “rant” I said the “82”… I meant the “86” or “Toyota 86”, the sporty looking car with the flat four Subaru engine: Like I said 5/10. Needs more power…Toyota needs to do a lot to get lost fans (like me) back after they dropped us in the 1990’s and early 2000’s when every other make had 2L to 2.5L turbos. we had no chance with 1.6 to 1.8L n/a engines against 160-200kw turbo engines. Bring the Supra back. No insult to FJ Cruiser owners or 86 owners, I’m sure they are nice and good vehicles, but I’m bot a Toyota fan anymore, but a small part of me will always love the 4AGE-16v and 20v GIANT KILLERS! Long live the 4AGE. Back to the Pajero, it is sad, I am sad, Mitsubishi will loose me (has lost me) as a fan.

    • February 9, 2016 at 4:59 pm — Reply

      The Supra is coming back. Yes the 86 is a wonderful car !

  8. Abdalkarem Al-Abawi
    March 30, 2016 at 8:36 am — Reply

    So it is confirmed, the Pajero is going to be killed, but when?
    I’m saving to buy one in 2017, will there be a 2017 model? or should I panic and get one right away?

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober