Mitsubishi Pajero’s future anything but clear-cut

Pajero could very well make way for a seven-seat, unibody model.

With its 37 year production run having come to an end in Japan and more recently the United Kingdom, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Mitsubishi has indicated that uncertainty remains on whether a replacement for the iconic Pajero will become a reality.

Last year, then Mitsubishi COO, Trevor Mann, said that while the “passion” for the now 23 year old Pajero remains intact, the segment it competes in has been shrinking at a rapid rate in recent years, as the shift towards more fuel efficient and smaller crossovers continue.

“We’ve not solidified our position as yet, but it’s something that our hearts really want to do, and our engineers want to do. We’ve got to make sure we have the right business case,” Mann told caradvice.com.au at the time.

“That segment is shrinking because of emissions regulations mainly, so we need to make sure that when we do something we do it profitably. Can hybrid help us do that? In theory yes. But do we have a full business case that will allow us to spend our R&D money to take the next step? Not quite. We have the ingredients but we haven’t put them together and in the oven yet”.

In an interview with the same publication, Mann’s successor and former Nissan Commercial Vehicles boss, Ashwani Gupta, said that the Pajero could very well make way for a seven-seat, unibody model, meaning it will be similar to the Nissan Pathfinder which lost its body-on frame platform when the Navara-based third generation ended production in 2015.

Gupta however stated that it is still too early to make assumptions about a successor as the Pajero will, for now, continue to be sold in Australia until a decision is made.

“We are working on the next mid-term plan,” he said, before adding that the complete discontinuing of the Pajero will depend on the market.

He also refused to elaborate on the possibility of the Pajero name going hiatus before a new model is launched, saying, “It’s too early to say, but for sure this kind of model needs high maintenance”.

While previous reports have indicated that the Pajero could share platforms with the next Nissan Patrol, Gupta declined to go in exact details, merely stating that the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s new C and D platform underpinned vehicles will provide a better picture.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Motors South Africa National Marketing Manager, Braam Faul, confirmed to The Citizen that the Pajero will not be withdrawn from the local market soon as sales remain satisfactory.

“We might do some local special editions e.g. Legend but at this stage we are happy with the sales of Pajero. As long as it sells, we will make it available to the local market,” Faul said.

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