The 2024 Mitsubishi Triton has made its global debut and everyone is already talking about how the midsize pickup might perform in our truck-heavy market. Though it could be argued that the vehicle was never intended to accommodate our needs and therefore has no business coming here.
Assembly of the Triton (also known as the L200) has been focused on Thailand and Brazil for over a decade because those are its most important markets. That was kept in mind when developing the new model, as it comes with a 2.4-liter diesel engine and drum brakes at the rear.
Mitsubishi is still around and kicking, and its 2024 lineup is getting a few updates to help it stay afloat among a sea of better-known rivals. The automaker recently announced the updates for the new model year, and while none are earth-shattering, there’s reason to be hopeful for the brand and its future.
Station wagons were falling out of favor in a hurry with American car shoppers as the 1990s progressed, especially after the 1991 Ford Explorer and 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee hit showrooms and put the hammer down on the truckification of our roads. Mitsubishi didn't seem to worry about such trends, though, and a longroof version of the Diamante luxury sedan appeared here for the 1993 model year. Here's one of those extremely rare wagons, found in a Northern California car graveyard a couple of months back.
The strategic partnership between France’s Renault and Japan’s Nissan has been a tenuous alliance throughout most of its history. However, the duo is attempting – once again – to tweak the nature of their complicated relationship in the hopes it produces better cooperation and reduced animosity.
It’s no secret that low-margin small cars aren’t the darlings of automakers. After all, why offer machines which eke out a few bucks when fat profits are waiting to be scooped by crossovers and SUVs? Nevertheless, some models remain – though if Mitsubishi’s home market website is accurate, the pool is about to shrink by one.
Standing in the lobby at Mitsubishi’s suburban Nashville headquarters last week, I looked out the window and saw Nissan’s own HQ just down the street. Even though Mitsubishi tells me that it’s just a coincidence that the two offices are that close to one another, the two companies are part of a larger alliance that also involves Renault. Even if it’s not intentional, one can feel the corporate synergy.
Dieselgate slashed a gaping hole in the assumption that automakers were genuinely invested in building more efficient cars, but it’s hardly the only flimflammery going on behind the scenes. A recent report from Transport and Environment, a European NGO pushing for cleaner transport, found that many automakers are underreporting global emissions by as much as 115 percent.
In a captive import enterprise that began in 1979, Dodge sold Mitsubishi’s compact pickup (aka Mighty Max in North America) to compete with the likes of the Ford (Mazda) Courier and the Chevrolet (Isuzu) LUV. Badged as the Ram 50, the truck was sold through two generations, 1979-1986 and 1987-1994. By the Nineties, the second-gen was showing its age, and Dodge decided it would rather focus on its own midsize truck, the Dakota.
But there was another captive import that arrived at the very same time as the second edition of the Ram 50. Say hello to the Raider.
Dodge’s import truck story began in 1979, when the Mitsubishi Forte (or L200) arrived on North American shores, rebadged as the Dodge D-50 and Plymouth Arrow. A captive import like the Colt, the durable Dodge D-50 (later Ram 50) proved itself a solid entrant into the compact pickup truck market. What proved unpopular was the Plymouth Arrow, which did not make it past its initial 1979-1982 outing. The Ram 50 was refreshed in 1982 but was certainly due for replacement in 1987 when the second generation arrived.
Recently on Abandoned History, we learned about the Colt, a captive import Dodge/Plymouth/Eagle/AMC/Renault sold courtesy of a badge swap on some compact cars from Mitsubishi. During that series’ tenure, one of our readers had a great idea: A separate Abandoned History discussion of the captive import trucks and SUVs in the Dodge portfolio. The time has come!
We arrive at the end of our Dodge Colt journey today. Colt started in 1971 as a cooperative program to provide Mitsubishi with a sales outlet in North America, and Chrysler with a compact and fuel-efficient car it didn’t have to design or build. Over the years the Colt evolved with the needs of the consumer and branched out into several different body styles.
Eventually, the tides shifted. Mitsubishi established their own dealerships in the United States (but not Canada) and started selling identical cars as were on Dodge/Plymouth dealer lots. Then, as Eagle came into being it also needed product to sell. Chrysler turned Eagle into its de facto outlet for imports and Mitsubishi cooperative products: Colts of regular and wagon persuasion became Eagles called Vista and Summit, in addition to their Dodge and Plymouth twins.
Last time we left our tale it was the dawn of 1993, and Colts were badged at Eagle dealers as a new generation of Summit. The Vista Wagon name was dead, now called Summit Wagon. Dodge, Plymouth, and Eagle dealers had an exciting new Colt as well! But it didn’t last long.
We rejoin the world of the Colt today, specifically the lineup on sale at various Dodge, Plymouth, and now Eagle dealers in the United States and Canada in the early Nineties. The addition of Eagle to Chrysler’s brand portfolio for the 1988 model year had a direct effect on the future of Colt: Almost immediately the Colt sedan was drafted onto the Eagle team, where it became the more expensive Summit.
Remaining as Colts in the US in 1990 were the hatchback and the dated Colt Vista and wagon. Canadians were offered the contemporary Colt sedan and hatchback, while the Colt Vista was sold over the border as the Eagle Vista Wagon. The Vista Wagon was accompanied in Canada by the old Colt sedan from the mid-Eighties, branded as Eagle Vista sedan and offered only as a very basic vehicle. We pick up at the beginning of the 1991 model year.
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