Different niche model unlikely to replace Pajero as Mitsubishi’s flagship

Pajero Sport will serve as MMSA’s flagship SUV once the Pajero bows out.

With the discontinuing of the Pajero confirmed, the South African arm of Mitsubishi Motors has indicated that no plans are in place to introduce a model of a different kind as its flagship once the Pajero Manufacturing Plant in Gifu Prefecture shuts its doors next year.

Having announced in a statement on Tuesday that it will continue with sales and take orders for the Pajero until supply runs out, Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) General Manager, Nic Campbell, stated that the iconic off-roader, which has been in production since 2006 with only exterior and interior revisions, remains a “really important model for us” and that MMSA “will make sure that we stay ahead in terms of parts and service” once the order book eventually closes.

Asked about the prospects of the Delica D:5, a model rumoured for return in Australia, arriving on local shores as the indirect replacement for the Pajero, Campbell stated that no word has yet been received from Japan, adding that the Triton-based Pajero Sport, which received a facelift last year and is due to arrive in South Africa in December, will serve as MMSA’s flagship SUV once the Pajero bows out.

At the other end of the spectrum, Campbell also ruled-out the possibly of the freshly announced plug-in hybrid Eclipse Cross touching down in South Africa, saying that the marque’s smaller SUVs, including the ASX, will remain petrol powered “until the infrastructure in South Africa allows [for] a PHEV for [the] mass market”.

This comes after Mitsubishi announced earlier this year that it would stop production of the diesel engine Eclipse Cross offered in Europe in order to concentrate on PHEVs. Oil-burners will however continue to be the mainstay of the Triton and Pajero Sport ranges.

Aside from the Pajero Sport, Campbell also let slip that the incoming new Outlander could be heading to South Africa, only “if it is available”, but that the Renault Trafic-based Express van sold in Australasia won’t be offered for the time being.

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