When you think of Mitsubishi, what do you think of? Chances are, one of the first things that runs through your mind when Mitsubishi gets a mention, is the turbocharged, AWD, rally-car-for-the-road Lancer Evolution series. For decades now, the Evo has provided Mitsu with some desperately-needed sense of identity, although it never really reflected a brand philosophy the way Subaru’s WRX/STI series did for its AWD lineup. And now, it seems, Mitsubishi is done trying to build a brand on a rally replica. Autocar‘s Matt Prior recently sat down with Motsu’s global product director Gayu Eusegi, and he heard some rather jarring news:
The Lancer Evolution X, Eusegi told me, will be the last Evo. “There is still a demand [for the car],” he said, “but we must stop.” Eyebrow up.
“Our influence now is EV technology,” Eusegi said, adding that the decision was a “policy change”.
It seems Mitsubishi, which is going to introduce eight full electric or hybrid cars by 2015, has decided its image is about lowering CO2, not making lurid replicas of rally cars that don’t go top-level rallying any more.
Eusegi said that customers would find it “easier to understand” what Mitsubishi was about if it was no longer in this motorsport-inspired market.
Eusegi goes on to apparently confirm that the Evo X will be the last of the line, until such time as rally racing goes electric. Which means that if you’ve always wanted to buy a new Evo, you might want to think about picking one up soon. After all, an EV-heavy strategy may not be the silver bullet for Mitsubishi, but the Lancer Evolution has had its chance at playing halo. Change can be painful, but it is the only constant… and Mitsu has to evolve or die. Even if that means the Evolution dies first.