By on March 31, 2014

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This generation of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution will be the last, according to Automotive News. Although no firm date was given, Mitsubishi did confirm that there will be no successor to the tenth generation Evo.

Instead, a potential successor would likely incorporate some kind of electrification, with a Mitsubishi spokesperson telling AN

“Mitsubishi Motors does not have any plans to design a successor with the current concept, as a high-performance four-wheel drive gasoline-powered sedan…Mitsubishi Motors will explore the possibilities of high-performance models that incorporate electric vehicle technology.”

Mitsubishi is looking to re-focus on utility vehicles, electric cars and other volume models as it combats an increasingly competitive marketplace. The next Lancer is widely expected to come from Renault Samsung, so Mitsubishi can focus resources on development of electric vehicles.

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86 Comments on “Mitsubishi Kills Off Lancer Evolution...”


  • avatar
    LeeK

    Farewell, great Evo. You took the US enthusiast world by storm in 2003 with your eighth generation and eleven years later you still command the respect of this tiny niche of piston heads. We will miss you, even if you never sold in anything but tiny numbers.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    I find it fascinating that Subaru is enjoying double digit sales growth, while Mitsu is circling the drain.

    • 0 avatar
      IndianaDriver

      I remember back in the late 2000s when Subaru’s future was looking pretty dicey (near circling the drain as you say) and Toyota came along like a knight in shining armor – buying up 20% of Subaru, opening access to the Toyota R&D and throwing the Lafayette, IN Subaru plant a lifeline by building Camry’s there. I don’t think Subaru would be in good shape today if Toyota didn’t rescue them. I think Mazda is crossing their fingers and hoping Toyota takes them under their wing too.

      Mitsubishi Motors is expected to make over $1 billion this year. If being an “appliance car maker” makes them profits and keeps shareholders happy, I can understand why they are doing it.

      • 0 avatar
        Synchromesh

        Subarus future was pretty dicey in late 2000s? Where do you get your info? They were doing 180-200K sales for all of 2000s. They went over that 200K mark around 2009-2010 and started climbing. I don’t see anything dicey.

        Here are the sales figures for USA for you:
        http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/subaru-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

  • avatar
    Syke

    OK, so they’re killing off the only respected model they have in the US market. Now what?

    • 0 avatar

      Respect didn’t equate to sales

      • 0 avatar
        tooloud10

        But it does get people in the door, where they look at the halo car (Evo) and end up buying something else. It’s a bad sign that they’re canning the only good car they have, regardless of sales numbers.

        • 0 avatar
          ellomdian

          I love to argue with this point, but for Mitsu specifically, I have a friend who bought a FWD poverty-spec Lancer because “It’s basically the same car as the EVO…”

          I suspect it had more to do with high pressure sales and amazing-until-you-do-math financing.

          • 0 avatar
            Jacob

            My brother bought one of those poverty spec last-generation 2005 Lancers because “it’s a mod away from being an Evo”. I told him many times that Evo is more than a bolt-on away. The poverty spec car is surprisingly bullet proof. At 110K miles the car had no major issues. Regardless, Evo is the only reason Mitsubishi gets any respect at all. Without Evo, Mitsubishi will go the way of Suzuki fast.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Dude, the OZ Rally is pretty much a non-turbo EVO.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          But considering the rest of their sales, did it get anyone in the door?

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I don’t know, the last time I was at the local Mitsubishi dealer they had a lot full of of Evos, and a couple of Outlanders. Nothing else in the lineup. The Evo is the only one I see regularly on the road. At least in southeastern Michigan, it looks like they are killing off their volume model.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          I checked on Cars.Com, and within a 100 mile radius of Atlanta there were 13 Evos in stock. If it’s their volume model here, they’re in a heap o’ trouble, as we say down here.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    Well, I have just left their camp. I have a ’13 Ralliart to trade later this year…Now my choices are STI or Golf R. What a shame.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I guess this proves that the enthusiasm of enthusiasts is not enough to keep a low-volume car afloat.

    Personally, I always found the Evo to look rather extreme and couldn’t imagine myself ever driving the thing.

    Maybe because I had an ’87 Mustang GT with a big wing on the back, which kind of permanently satisfied my desire to drive things with wings and spoilers and such on the street.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      It’s okay everyone, Subaru has preemptively made the STi uglier than a frog’s ass in anticipation of just this move – 24 year old failed-to-launch man-children still have a way to notify everyone in a 200-yard radius they have not gained a shred of subtlety in the entirety of their existence.

      Aging boi-racers trying to fit car seats between aftermarket roll-bars without doffing their flat-brim Monster hats are still well served. And the coffee-can exhaust F&F crowd isn’t buying new anyways, so at least for now, there’s no shortage of poorly driven rally wannabe’s desperately compensating for a pre-midlife crisis with a terrible suspension and gigantic wings.

      Ken Block, the patron saint of over-grown man-children has been in a Ford for years already – the Scoobie/Evo wars have been over for half a decade. The only people shedding tears over the Evo’s demise are people who’ve claimed they would have bought one for years, but didn’t, and people who are still living in 2005 when the Evo VIII was new.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        You confuse the second owner demographic of these things. The new buyer of an Evo or STI is about like your average 3 series demographic. Mid 30s up and doing plenty well.

        The rally car is a nice sort of anti-status middle finger and tons of fun.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Power6
          At work it seems the young guys are buying the WRX’s and even HSV’s. Not many BMW’s. Why would a person with a passion for some fine German engineering buy a WRX or even a EVO?

          These Japanese rockets are the best bang for your buck.

          But most have 4×4 pickups and SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            This might be the difference between US and other markets. Though we like our financing, ‘mericans are cheap we don’t spend as much on our cars. Not many in the 20s or early 30s here can afford these 40k rally monsters.

            Older, more established males are the ones who actually buy these new. Subaru has said the average buyer for the WRX (the cheap one not the STI) is a mid 30s male making over 100k. The same people might not cross shop a BMW 3-series, but the same demo is buying them.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Jesus, dude. The cars are relative bargains for the sort of performance they offer and can be a blast to drive. Not my choice either, but that is pretty harsh. I see lots of kids who are modern versions of 1950s and 60s muscle car owners driving them while the older generation looks on with disapproval. It’s performance they can afford and those cars are bad a*s in their own way.

      • 0 avatar
        calgarytek

        @ellomdian

        Yeah, well, that’s just like your ‘opinion’ man…

  • avatar
    TW5

    Is it April 1st in Japan already?

  • avatar
    John R

    Sigh.

    Much like how US out spent USSR looks like the same has been done to Mitsu by Subbie. I can’t speak to the new STI but the last one was definitely inferior to the Evo, dynamically. It is a tragedy Mitsu products weren’t engineered to the same standards.

    Not to mention Mitsu’s brand management was and is FUBAR. The Evo is just the canary in the mine.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      That’s about it.

      Mitsubishi’s US sales fell 85% between 2002 to 2009, and have floundered ever since. They’re on the brink of a US exit, IMO.

      Focusing on EVs is a mighty risky move. Sales of the i-MiEV are near zero for a variety of reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Anyone want to take bets that they insult us with an Evo version of the Outlander before the door hits them in the ass?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        A toxic combination of horrid marketing, poor products & among the worst dealership networks of any to have ever existed in the U.S. (KIA dealerships have a relative “upscale” feel by contrast) doomed Mitsubishi’s North American operations.

        Mitsubishi’s N.A. retail vehicle operations death already occurred, in economic reality, quite some time ago; only by the sheer grace of Mitsubishi’s too-big-to-fail keiretsu status by the benevolence & decree of Japanese Government has Mitsubishi not been forced to actually close the doors on such operations thus far.

        • 0 avatar
          morbo

          Now now, Mitsu dealerships may have their problems, like 1990′s decor, incompetent service techs, and the lowest rung of automotive desperation this side of a Suzuki-Saab-Pontiac-Isuzu dealership, but Mitsu does have some advantages.

          Did you know Mitsu dealerships are leaders in production of nicotine stained polyester? Or that they generate the stalest coffee of any brand in America? Few places offer the ability to offend your intelligence by offering you vehicles of such low quality with such high interest rates and with such aggressive sales tactics.

          Spoken from my personal experience at Kerbeck Pontiac-GMC-Mitsubishi in Pleasantville, NJ. Although in hindsight, I did warn them that GM would die before mitsu. After being expelled from their lot for…emphatically explaining in…colorful language why and how the dealership would screw over potential customers of $50k trucks while waiting for never ending repairs on an in-warranty car.

        • 0 avatar
          Les

          Speaking of dealerships, where are they?

          This I think is one of the key details that is killing such brands as ‘Meh’tsubishi and ‘Zoom-Zoom’ Mazda like it’s already killed Suzuki in North America, WHERE they put their dealerships.

          Sure, the MBA logic is to put them all in big cities, because that’s where all the money is.. it’s Also where EVERYBODY ELSE puts their dealerships. Mitsubishi was never going to make Toyota money even if the Evo XI was a fire-breathing monster with the horsepower of a Veyron, the Torque-Curve of a Viper, the handling of a 911, the Acceleration of a GT-R, the Practicality of a Town & Country all for the price of a Fiesta IF Mitsubishi puts all it’s dealerships just across the street from Toyota dealerships.

          Meanwhile, thousands and thousands of people living outside the biggest of big cities in their home states buy thousands of thousands of Chevrolets from their home-town Chevy dealers because recalls be damned they Have ‘home-town’ Chevy dealers.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’ve seen an i-MiEV in real life and I was very shocked!

        Other than that, completely agree they’ll be out of the US market within probably 10 years.

        • 0 avatar
          Carfan94

          There was an i-MiEV at my local car show, I sat in it. Just like the mirage it was a very horrifying little car, and my feet got stuck underneath the front seat when i sat in the back (i eventually got out though).

          • 0 avatar
            rudiger

            There was actually a market, albeit a very small one, that made sense for the i-MiEV, and that’s for people interested in exactly what it was, an upscale, all-weather, electric golf cart. IOW, those communities (i.e., retirement) that actually use electric golf carts as a legitimate means of transportation. For them, an i-MiEV would be perfect.

            But for the rest of the auto-buying public that use automobiles for regular transportation in the real world, not so much.

        • 0 avatar
          bomberpete

          10 years? You’re equivocating. I give ‘em 2 years.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          I saw one around Thanksgiving. I honestly didn’t know they sold any.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      Much like the Mustang proved through the 90s and 00s it didn’t have to beat the old F-body on the track to win the sales war, Subaru found the same with the STI.

      Oddly enough the reports are the new STI is a hard core tuning more like the Evo.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I would imagine this has much to do with the sorry state of the performance car market in Japan.

    Mitsu needs to do something about their product lineup in general, they seem to be going down the road to irrelevance right now. There are probably too many carmakers in Japan right now, and if Mitsubishi continues down the path they’re on they are likely to be a takeover candidate.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The only Mitsu anyone lusts over. Well now the brand is just pointless.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    The fast version was paddle only which is a drawback, and even then the new alumnum motor was weaker than the model that preceeded it. To me the current evo was a step backwards stylisticaly and performance/fun wise ont he mdoel that preceeded it.

    Subaru also went backwards with a softer car, but then got behind it and started developign firther. The 2015 WRX looks to be pretty awesome.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    The Evo is the only reason that they move any Lancers at all, now everything they sell is cheap crap. An electric Evo type car could nicely however. Everything in the Evo is electric anyway except the motor.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Hey we’re Mitsubishi USA. Ya know that model you car people like, and the only interesting/sporty/desirable/fast thing we make? Not doin’ that anymore, suckers.”

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    It’s quite sad really. This car had the potential to SAVE Mitsubishi. There was a lot of good equity in the name. They could have spun-off a whole EVO sub-brand. A smaller compact with the good looks of its big brother and a punchy turbo-4 with AWD. A full sizer with a turbo-6 to go head to head with the Charger. Lots of wasted potential.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      A single “halo” car in a small niche market is never enough to keep a mainstream brand afloat.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      Doubtful. The car would appeal to people maybe in their early thirties. Probably younger. I assume the insurance on such a car for such a young person would be off-the-charts expensive. The car isn’t cheap. Its not really stylish. So the target demographic is well-to-do single young head-bangers. Not much of a target.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Does this mean that the Mitsu Zero concept car unveiled at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show will not make it to the production stage?

  • avatar
    doublechili

    No more Evo. Combine that with the gradual phase-out of the manual transmission and I’m getting the feeling that we’re in the beginning of the end phase of true “enthusiast” models. The marketing departments and regulators win. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I think it’s more that reality wins, that plus current cars are so good that a fairly mainstream car is more than you can realistically use in almost any public road situation.

      A few months back Car and Driver did a comparison test of a couple of hot hatches with the premise that those cars were all the performance car anyone would ever need. The conclusion was that they are. The WRX’s, ST’s, and GTI’s are more than enough for any non-track activities.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      But the Evo’s most direct competitor – the WRX – continues on. I’d say the market – not the marketing department or the regulators – spoke here.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        The Evo is $10,000 more than a WRX, Focus ST, or a GTI, and Mitsubishi is a bit player on the US market. I would hope you’re getting something more for that extra money, otherwise I can see where Mitsubishi is having a hard time getting them out the door.

      • 0 avatar
        doublechili

        Well, I’m really going big picture with the comment I made. The general trend is the elimination of MTs because they don’t sell enough, and now here’s a flat-out performance monster that’s being discontinued. So whether the WRX and STI survive (for now), the trend is such that these cars will also be gone, or unrecognizingly watered-down, at some point too. Eg., CVT tranny coming in the 2015 WRX, or Subaru being unwilling to invest in a new engine for the next STI.

        It might be the market speaking as you wrote, but the environment is now one where decisions seem to be made mostly by bean-counters and/or marketing departments based on sales and therefore buyer demographics. And the regulators (safety, emissions, CAFE, etc.) create the environment where it becomes impractical to make a low volume car for multiple markets. I’m no expert, but that’s just how it seems to me.

  • avatar

    This might be a good time to get one now (used in good condition for the cheep crowd) since the depreciate maybe close to zero a la Elise/S2000.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      I am thinking about going ahead with a new MR…But I really want to test the new STI and Golf R before pulling the trigger.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d be really leery of buying any car like this used. Too many potential Boy-Racer-Ride issues.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “This might be a good time to get one now…”

      I was thinking about that before this was announced. Time to give the local Mistu dealer a call. Funny you mention the S2000. My local Honda dealer has a 2006, with 120,570 miles and is asking $16,999.

      • 0 avatar
        LALoser

        I was searching best prices, Safari Auto Group in LA and a dealer in Dallas seem to have the best pricing. Search “Mitsubishi Superstore LA”, they usually have around 100 of GSRs and MRs combined.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Unless they go for distress pricing right away, you can probably get a brand-new — if weather-beaten — EVO during the 2016 Going Out of Business sale.

        Mitsu discontinued the 3000GT VR4 at the end of the ’99 model year. In the monthly sales figure tallies, dealers were still selling new ones well into 2001-2002.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Sad to see a high performance car go…but if Mitsubishi is going to become relevant again, it probably has to refocus on volume sellers.

    The only question is whether the remaining models WILL be volume sellers. I wouldn’t bet the house on it.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    The Evo was always disappointing inside. Mitsu’s have this level of cheapness inside that could only be matched by GM of the 80′s and 90′s or Chrysler up to the Fiat merger.

    They put ALL of the money into the go fast stuff, but nothing into the interior. I’m an enthusiast and I appreciate the Evo’s speed, but I don’t want to spend 40k on a car that reminds me of its econocar roots.

    The Evo from most readings, was always a bit more hardcore than the Subie. It seemed unless you were part of the Fast N Furious, flat brim hat scene, you weren’t going to be happy with it for long. The WRX, though still cursed with either a crappy interior and/or bizarre styling, seemed like the more livable car.

    Had an 04 Lancer Sportback. Wonderful car mechanically, 77k in less than two years. Done in by getting rear-ended. Awful interior and seats though. But it was 5k off sticker and I needed a small wagon. It worked, but I won’t be sad to Mitsubishi stick to building cars for the home market and all the other stuff they make.

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi is an interesting automaker. Outside of North America their SUVs/CUVs are generally well regarded though their cars have a positive or negative reputation country by country it seems. Like others pointed out in these threads, Mitsubishi will remain as long as the parent company wishes it to, as it’s a huge corporation. I don’t know if the car operations are profitable, but the parent company can afford a loss.

    It would seem their future is either closing (when or if the parent company loses interest), investing a lot of money to make their cars more competitive, or selling the auto division off as I’m sure there’d be takers. FCA comes to mind because if Mitsubishi were theirs, voilà, global presence, future guaranteed.

  • avatar
    Atum

    I went to the auto show a couple days ago, and sat in the Mitsubishi models except for the Lancer. Incredibly roomy and comfortable for someone over six foot (I managed to climb into the Outlander’s third row, which is hugely improved over the previous gen’s), but some problems linger. The Mirage sounded cheap when closing the doors. The Outlander Sport and Mirage had a budget feel inside.

    If the Outlander family got better engines and improved interior materials, Mitsubishi could be in a good market. They’re reliable, safe, inexpensive, and comfy. This is what the general person wants. As with the Mirage, it was roomy, but it’s not even safe or technologically-advanced. I just wish the normal Outlander was built in Normal (bad pun).

    The EVO is a loss, but Mitsubishi has the models I just listed that they need to focus on more. They also need to redesign the Lancer; it’s slipping!

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Another strange strategy change by Mitsubishi. They seem to kill a product that works…

  • avatar

    So, unless you have a beacon under 510, is there ANY reason to drive a new Mitsubishi?

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      For someone, something Mitsubishi offers might fill the bill. I have excellent credit and still bought my 04 Sportback back then because it fit the need at the time and was bargain priced. Buy and drive what you like and/or need I suppose.

  • avatar
    stuki

    The end of an era. Kinda sad.

    Not much much of a market for a fast-from-the-factory-relatively-cheap-to-make-genuinely-fast car, in an era where anyone not on Bernanke/Yellen’s direct payroll is supposed to know their place is a bus or an econobox in the slow lane; where they won’t interfere with the Goldman Sachs’ers clumsy displays of “speed” in their $100K battery toys.

    Most serious Evo runners, seem to have moved on to bikes anyway.

    Wonder if the next gen ‘Stang, with the IRS, may come with solid enough basics, to be reasonably tuneable to pick up some of the slack. Otherwise, I can’t see anyone else picking up the slack.

    • 0 avatar
      Atum

      I see people trying to make their Lancer’s look like EVOs, adding Magnaflow exhausts, huge spoilers, custom rims, etc. It’s depressing. And these aren’t even cars decked out in a row of Cobb County Schools stickers accumulated over the years; these are cars driven by people in their 20′s. Erm….


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