And why this isn't a bad thing.
Although Mitsubishi has not sold a proper SUV in the US for several years now, the likelihood it will return to this segment continues to strengthen. Right now, Mitsubishi's US lineup consists of a subcompact sedan and hatchback, the G4, and crossovers like the Outlander, Outlander Sport, and Eclipse Cross. Nothing is body-on-frame. Earlier this year at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, the Japanese automaker revealed its Engelberg Tourer Concept, a four-wheel-drive, plug-in hybrid SUV built on a new platform sourced from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Will it make production? Mitsubishi certainly hopes so, but it appears the brand might receive additional help from its Nissan partner.
According to Australia's Cars Guide, Mitsubishi is "open to platform sharing across its Alliance partners, and specifically Nissan, to breathe new life into the [Pajero] nameplate."
The Pajero, which was sold in the US as the Montero until it was discontinued a few years ago, is aging fast. Last redesigned for 2006, the body-on-frame SUV remains on sale in Australia but, eventually, a successor will be required. That's where Nissan could come into the picture.
Mitsubishi's Australian chief, John Signoriello, told the publication that "you never know what the Alliance could bring. That's the beauty of product and platform sharing within the Alliance. It's always got to be based on a business case." What could that shared platform be? The very same one underpinning the Nissan Patrol, which is sold as the Armada in the US.
Now, it's important to bear in mind the Nissan Patrol/Armada platform is also not exactly new; it dates back to 2010. In some markets, especially Australia, large SUVs like these remain in demand, so chances are the Patrol/Armada successor will happen eventually. In the US, sales of large SUVs like the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator remain solid, so it'd make sense for Nissan to stay in the game with a next-generation Armada. Question is, does Mitsubishi North America even want a heavily restyled Armada? Or, does it prefer something similar but still quite different, specifically a production version of the Engelberg Tourer?
Mitsubishi told us a couple of years ago its desire to re-enter the US SUV market would soon be realized. Going by this latest report from Down Under, it appears Mitsubishi might have more than one option to do exactly that.