Mitsubishi's Last Real SUV Is Being Discontinued

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It hasn't been sold in America since 2006.

The Mitsubishi Pajero SUV, sold as the Montero in the US for several years, dates back to 1982. It's currently in its fourth generation. It left the US market back in 2006, the year the current-gen model debuted. Since that time, the Pajero, also known as the Shogun in Japan, hasn't changed all that much. But instead of introducing a fifth-generation, it's being discontinued entirely.

Reuters reports that following the Japanese automaker's recent financial forecast of a second straight year of losses only made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, a major restructuring effort will have to happen, of which the Pajero will be a casualty. Mitsubishi is the newest and smallest member of the Renault-Nissan alliance, which has its own series of financial issues at the moment. The Pajero is not only gone from the lineup starting next year but also the Japanese plant where it's built will be shuttered.

Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi

Nothing has been mentioned about a potential successor, though this was once hinted at by way of the Engelberg Tourer Concept, revealed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Built on a new platform, it featured four-wheel-drive and a plug-in hybrid setup. For now at least, any possible production plans appear to be on hold. The Pajero/Montero (and, in Japan, the Shogun) also has a rally legacy, having won the grueling Dakar Rally a record 12 times, most recently in 2007.

Will Mitsubishi ever return to Dakar or any rally race for that matter? Unfortunately, it's still way too early to know. The first step to making that happen is to implement a successful recovery plan, and that won't be easy.

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Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi anticipates an end of fiscal year 2021 operating loss of $1.33 billion. This would be the company's biggest loss since 2002. Dropping the Pajero and closing its production facility is just one way to help prevent the ship from sinking. Mitsubishi has previously made clear it intends to shift focus to markets where it performs the strongest, specifically Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Both the US and Europe are not considered top priorities, but a redesigned Mitsubishi Outlander has been confirmed to arrive for 2021. The rest of its US lineup, however, will be receiving more modest updates.

Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Source Credits: Reuters

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