RIP 3000GT, Eclipse, and Evo.
One glance at Mitsubishi’s US model lineup and it’s clear the Japanese automaker is seriously lagging behind the competition. Cool sports cars like the Eclipse, 3000GT and Evo are things of the past. None will be making a comeback, though the Eclipse name lives on, though it’s now a crossover. So what types of cars are in Mitsubishi’s future, assuming it even has one? Automotive News learned from Mitsubishi’s CEO that, aside from the new Eclipse Cross and Outlander PHEV crossovers, a sedan and even a pickup truck are possibilities.
However, the latter two won’t arrive until sometime after 2020 once Mitsubishi gains access to parent company Renault-Nissan platforms. As far as the sedan goes, CEO Osamu Masuko has already confirmed that “It won’t be just a rebadge. The design will be completely different. We would like to clearly differentiate our models and show the special characteristics of each company.” However, launching a new US market sedan, possibly a Lancer successor, is not a done deal, nor is the idea for a new pickup truck. The only reason why it’s currently being considered is because of America’s love for trucks in general.
However, Mitsubishi’s truck building experience isn’t with full-size offerings like the Ford F-150 but with smaller, mid-size pickups. “We are focused on developing pickups for non-U.S. markets such as (Southeast Asia) and the Middle East,” Masuko said. “So for the U.S., if there is an opportunity, we might get it from Nissan. We would like to consider if there are opportunities from within the Alliance.” For now, Mitsubishi wants to increase its US showroom count and push its plug-in hybrid technology. Even further into the future, it envisions pure EVs, fuels cells and autonomous vehicles. And with that, the era of Mitsubishi sports cars has officially come to an end.