By on December 12, 2015


According to a report last week from Japan’s Nikkei, the Mitsubishi Montero — known as the Pajero in other global markets — is totally, completely, and utterly dead. Mitsubishi will instead focus on crossovers and electrification going forward.

Mitsubishi had teased “The Return of a Legend” earlier this year before the Chicago Auto Show, which many in the automotive press — including TTAC — thought might be a replacement for the flagship SUV. The automaker showed instead its Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV.

According to the Nikkei report, Mitsubishi has all but stopped development on a new Montero/Pajero. The large SUV was last redesigned for the 2006 model year, but that generation didn’t make it to the United States.

The latest news comes during a time of awkward growth for Mitsubishi.

While sales are up for Mitsubishi in the United States, the brand is relying on lower-margin product like the Mirage and Outlander Sport. And while sales were up earlier this year for the aging Lancer compact, that model is slated to go out of production in March with no successor planned, reports Nikkei. Mitsubishi’s electric car, the i-MiEV, also won’t get a second generation in the United States.

Mitsubishi did show an Outlander Sport-sized electric crossover in Tokyo earlier this year, which will likely spawn a production model for 2017. In Los Angeles, the brand showed off a heavily-facelifted Mirage subcompact.

To fill gaps in its domestic lineup, Mitsubishi has tapped Suzuki to provide kei-class microcars and Nissan to provide luxury sedans, reports Nikkei.

Mitsubishi closed its only assembly plant in North America, responsible for producing the Outlander Sport, in late November. About 300 workers will remain until May 2016 to produce parts.

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31 Comments on “Mitsubishi Won’t Build Another Montero/Pajero...”

  • avatar

    Somewhat related, I just acquired a 2011 Endeavor SE for inventory and, man, what a time machine that car is. Torquey, a bit floaty, a bit noisy – completely inoffensive SUV traits in the mid-00s – with a whackadoo center stack out of a ’93 Oldsmobile concept car, complete with Windows 3.1 graphics.

  • avatar

    I was driving home last night and passed whatever the last gen of Monteros they sold here was and thought, hmm, if they sold the current model here that’s the one Mitsubishi I’d consider buying.

    Of course, I will be the first to admit that I’m not a typical car buyer and any car company that built cars to my taste would be doomed.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I know, right. It’s like a Discovery 4/LR4 for less money. Mike Brewer had a late-model Shogun (UK name) on the last few UK-based seasons of Wheeler Dealers, and it made me jealous (he also had a Discovery 4 for a time, too).

  • avatar

    So is this willful ignorance on the part of Mitsu or are they trying to take their company out behind the barn and shoot it?

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what I’m thinking. Or a mole for a competitor is running the company. They have been trying to eliminate anything that was remotely desirably from their portfolio. At least they are building the Mitsubishi of the sky. 223 orders in 8 years, similar success to their cars.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not sure it’s an accurate assessment when competing with the likes of CSeries, SSJ, and even MS-21. And you know, they are doing better than Boeing at that. Their game plan appears to be the 2nd worst after Embraers.

    • 0 avatar

      Mitsu Motors is following Nissan’s lead:

      “In 2007, Ghosn led the Renault-Nissan Alliance into the mass-market zero-emission electric car market in a major way, and committed €4 billion (more than $5 billion) to the effort.[22][88][89][90] In 2008 he confirmed that Nissan-Renault would bring an “entire lineup” of zero-emission electric cars to the worldwide market by 2012.[91][92] In 2009, he told the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, “If you’re going to let developing countries have as many cars as they want—and they’re going to have as many cars as they want one way or another—there is no absolutely alternative but to go for zero emissions. And the only zero-emissions vehicle available today is electric…. So we decided to go for it.”[93] The Nissan Leaf, an electric car billed as “the world’s first affordable zero-emission car”,[23][24] debuted in December 2010″

      “”Frankly we are concentrated on the mass market, the core market,” he remarked. He said the small sales increases that would result from “going niche” by competing with Tesla aren’t what Renault-Nissan is aiming for.”

      Electrification provides for a few things:

      Less moving parts
      Possibly cheaper assembly costs
      Immunity from oil shocks
      Adherence to AGW hoax
      Focus on Third World sales

      If I owned a near failed auto mfg who already has a major sales prescience in ASEAN and still had a joint venture in India which at one point ruled the auto industry there until I stopped investing in it, I’d be looking at electric despite battery range. In most countries people who can afford cars do not live 40 miles from work. You can’t drive 2000 miles across most countries Mitsu sells product in, the exception maybe being Australia.

      “Hindustan has a joint venture with Mitsubishi that started in 1998. The plant is located in Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. Now only (Pajero Sport) is manufactured. In India Mitsubishi had ruled the automotive industry in 2000 with the Mitsubishi Lancer Slxd diesel 2.0l engine and slxi 1.5l petrol with features of the future(stereo system with cassette and cd change player, automatic controllable/foldable mirrors, leather seats, cup holders, defoggers, 5-speed manual refined gear box, rally based body chassis as it was based on the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution which made Indians to trail it but as time went by, their sales leaped down as wrong choice of engines to wrong choice of cars were launched. But since they launched Pajero sport in 2012, Mitsubishi has managed to retain their fame. This new SUV hosts a 2.5l DI-D Variable Geometrical Turbo Diesel engine mated to a 5-speed AT or MT. But 4WD is available only on the manual one and 4×2 is offered on the automatic version. Though Pajero sport was launched in 2010 worldwide it still has that freshness and the tinge of exquisite. The pajero sport had a cosmetic update in late 2014 with revamped bumpers, front grille, tailgates and interiors too. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is competitor to SUVs like Toyota Fortuner ,Ford Endeavour etc…”

      • 0 avatar

        Electric cars are the future!

      • 0 avatar

        When you are a midsized mainstream automaker, you have to place your bets VERY carefully. Subaru has done well, carving out a growing niche in AWD cars and related CUVs. Mazda has survived as a sporty carmaker that gets good mileage from mainstream technologies. Neither carmaker overextended with major investments of money they didn’t have into hybrids, pickups or electric vehicles.

        Mitsubishi spent a lot of its research budget on electric vehicles with very sophisticated drivetrains that entailed individual motors at each corner. Which they could not bring to market. At the same time, Mitsubishi’s brand was too diffuse to mean anything. Are they sporty like the Evo? Rugged like the Montero? Mainstream like the Gallant?

        Meanwhile, sales fell and they chased the subprime market, which tanked resale values and further damaged the brand.

        At this point, there aren’t funds to do much in the way of development, so Mitsubishi is focusing on small CUVs in the hope they can survive. I would not bet on them.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          I do believe that Subaru uses desirability as it’s main point to sell vehicles, not pricing as Mitsubishi has done.

          Mitsubishi has always been “cheap and cheerful” in the way it promotes itself.

          Mitsubishi is the FCA of Japan.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          To add;
          I believe Subaru has successfully modeled itself similar to how the Europeans have successfully modeled themselves. They have an air of exclusiveness about them.

          Whereas Mitsubishi is now a cheap brand that will fight more and more for sales with the Chinese. Mitsubishi will go under eventually as will FCA.

          • 0 avatar

            Subaru does well because it’s just about the best game in town for $30k on down with decent cargo space and capability, Its main competitors are stuff like the CR-V and RAV-4, which do not have the same degree of capability because they have to be a lot of things to a lot of people. They can’t focus on a particular niche, and as a result Subaru owns that Niche.

          • 0 avatar

            I would certainly be in the market for a Montero as a “discount” Land Cruiser – Land Cruiser in the USA is a $80,000 vehicle. Make the Montero (with standard 4×4) a $40,000 vehicle and you’ve got my attention.

  • avatar

    You’re dead to me, Mitsubishi. Of course, the same probably goes for 99% of the NA market.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The Pajero is quite a popular and proper 4×4 SUV here in Australia. I’ve never been a big fan of the Pajero personally, but it does have repeat buyers. It is sad to see it go as it gave the other midsize SUVs competition.

    It will be replaced with a Triton based SUV. This will replace the Mitsubishi Challenger as well. The new Pajero Sport will be better loaded with off road aids and it appears it will be an excellent off road vehicle.

    The Pajero Sport is not a CUV. I also don’t know if it will become “electrified” as Mark mentioned. An EV off roader here in Australia just wouldn’t work at all.

    Here’s a link to a review on the vehicle I read last week.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve driven a few of them 1990s spec Pajeros and they are ok for what they are… slow cheap tough but unsafe 4wds with real capability.

      Thing is the current Pajero doesnt have a place any more… it goes up against the old guard 2.5 ton Landcruisers and Nissan Patrols and really, who needs such a thing besides the UN, ISIS, African despots and rich Arab oil elites?

      As said before ad infintum here and every else, the world has moved to toy CUVs, subcompact CUVs and women’s CUVs like Honda CRVs and to quasi utility SUVs like the Challengers and whatever the hell Ford and GM and the Asians sell here.

      Mitsubishi do well to move here along with everyone else.

      • 0 avatar

        I do agree, the world would rather pay more to get much less and look like fools to boot.

        “t goes up against the old guard 2.5 ton Landcruisers and Nissan Patrols and really, who needs such a thing besides the UN, ISIS, African despots and rich Arab oil elites”

        Everyone should have one as they are useful.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        We have Pajeros at work along with Prados. I do prefer driving the Pajeros on the blacktop over the Prados.

        I actually considered a NJ Pajero with the 3.5 V6 and ended up buying a D20 Nissan with a NA 3.2 diesel when my 95 Cherokee Sport died in the ass. The NJ Pajeros seemed to be very narrow inside, it felt smaller than the D22.

        The Pajero Sport appears to me to be better than the new Jeep Cherokee. The drivetrain and 4×4 aids appear quite good. It even has a full chassis like the Challenger.

        But it is based on the Triton platform and they are only as wide as the D20 Navaras/Hardbodys.

        The diesel looks interesting. But that diesel is also in the new Tritons and from what I’ve heard the cylinder heads aren’t fairing to well. I do hope Mitsu has a fix for the problem.

  • avatar

    Sucks for the overall market as another choice is extinguished but probably a sound business decision.

  • avatar

    So then the “return of a legend” is something we’ve never heard of before. I’m not quite sure they got their translation right.

    And I’m mad they’re cancelling the Montero. It was the LAST decent thing they made, and the only thing with four wheels and a Mitsubishi badge that I’d even consider.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, come on, Corey. Have you seen the new Mirage? They fixed it completely. It’s totally okay now.

    • 0 avatar

      Id buy a Triton/L200, or consider one at least. I wish theyd offer it here, building it in their US factory as Toyota, GM and Nissan do would negate the chicken tax or other import issues. Design a version to work in North America and build it here. Oh, but they shot themselves in the foot by killing the US plant. Midsize trucks arent a HUGE market here, but fresh meat in the segment is usually met with fairly robust sales (Colorado/Canyon, new Tacoma).

      Sucks that a vehicle I always liked from Mitsubishi wont continue (Pajero/Montero). Even though you couldnt buy it here for a while now, Id always hoped with new technology that it could come back, but that dream is snuffed out now.

      Id really like an early two door 2.6L/4wd/5spd Montero (not a Dodge rebadge lol) to replace my old Isuzu Trooper. I miss having a little tall two door Japanese BOF SUV with a lil 4 cyl engine and a manual trans. Slow but a neat little capable vehicle.

  • avatar

    I’d like to think that Mitsubishi could actually make a business case for bringing over the pajero sport (the successor to our montero sport, based on a pickup chassis). With Nissan dropping the xterra, its down to just the wrangler and 4runner. If Mitsubishi’s other vehicles are all electrified city cars that smoke CAFE, then why not? By all accounts the pajero sport is a nice, capable rig.

    • 0 avatar

      That might be a good thing! I agree. Too bad their chance to compeditively sell the L200/Triton here was lost when they closed their US plant. A real truck based SUV and a real midsize truck couldve help them carve out a niche of their own with people like us who truly appreciate BOF truck-like vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        The Triton pickup is the number three best seller here in Australia due to it’s very competitive pricing. From the reviews I’ve read it is an average performer, but still it sells quite well.

        The US could get them, but their pricing would be uncompetitive by the time you add the 25% pickup import tax onto them.

        The Triton would help Mitsubishi in the US stay afloat.

  • avatar

    Nobody knows how to make a 4WD utility vehicle properly anymore anyway. This is too bad, Mitsubishi was on the short list of companies I hoped would prove me wrong. I’m starting to think it wouldn’t be so crazy if I bought another Wrangler Unlimited and shrink wrapped it for the day my current one needs replacing.

  • avatar

    Was just thinking about the dearth of non pickups with decent wheel well clearance while clearing caked on snow/slush preventing even 1 mm of wheel travel today with a hammer today….

    When the last guy throws in the towel, and everyone is a naysayer, it is generally the best time to buy……

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