Return of the Montero?
Mitsubishi’s sales in the U.S. were on the uptick last year due to the strong performance of its Outlander lineup. Now, the automaker is looking to continue that momentum with the recently introduced Eclipse Cross, and possibly, another new utility vehicle.
“Yes, that is one thing we are looking at. A new SUV,” Tsuneshiro Kunimoto, vice president and general manager of Mitsubishi design, told CarBuzz. “The SUV is still growing, also in China and Europe, so it [an SUV] would be a good decision for Mitsubishi.”
“Mitsubishi is robust and ingenious,” Kunimoto continued. “Look at the Pajero at Dakar, for example. Thanks to the new alliance, we have so many choices. Mitsubishi will continue to grow.”
The Pajero SUV is still sold in many parts of the world, but not in the U.S. where it was known as the Montero. Did Mitsubishi just hint at a possible return of this off-road SUV? Or are we reading too much into it? Anyway, the Montero left the U.S. market after the 2006 model year, leaving a gap that would remain unfilled in the automaker’s American lineup to this day.
Kunimoto was also referencing Mitsubishi’s new link-up with Renault-Nissan. Announced in 2016, the deal gives Nissan a 34-percent equity stake in Mitsubishi, making it the company’s largest shareholder. Building a new SUV should be an easier task now that Mitsubishi can pool platforms and other parts from its alliance partners.