Mitsubishi's design director imagines Lancer won't be a "conventional hatchback."
Mitsubishi has turned its fuel-economy cheating scandal into a product renaissance thanks to investment from Nissan. The struggling Japanese automaker, once short on R&D resources, is now relying on the strength of its Alliance partners—Nissan and Renault—to give it a leg up in refreshing its lineup of cars and SUVs. One of those models, the Lancer, left the American market after the 2017 model year, but that doesn't mean the compact is gone forever. According to AutoExpress, the Lancer could return as a funky crossover.
AutoExpress spoke to two of the people most in the know on Mitsubishi's future product plans: Trevor Mann, Mitsubishi's Chief Operating Officer, and Tsunehiro Kunimoto, the company's lead designer. "We have a long-range product plan that's pretty solid until 2025, and a dotted line beyond that," Mann told AutoExpress. "Within that what we've said is, 'Which vehicles do we want? What are we going to work on?' We're going to replace ASX, Outlander and Triton. Then we have these two boxes: Pajero and Lancer. Lancer's probably the easiest one; we believe we've got a solution that could fit the segment."
According to designer Kunimoto, the Lancer will occupy the same segment it did before, but it could evolve from the traditional compact-car formula. "Just because it's C-segment doesn't mean it has to be a very conventional hatchback," he explained. "Maybe we can create a new type of hatchback vehicle. We're thinking quite radically. Originality is as much a part of the Mitsubishi design philosophy now as consistency." One only needs to look at one of Mitsubishi's concepts for inspiration. The e-Evolution Concept could fit well in the segment. You can check out a speculative render at AutoExpress to see how it envisions the next Lancer.