Mitsubishi, like many other brands, is currently in a difficult period. More and more companies see no other option than to work together and divide roles among themselves. The news that Mitsubishi has halted the introduction of new models in Europe seems to confirm this picture once again. Mitsubishi will try to restructure itself with the “Small but Beautiful” program. This will allow the brand to focus more on the Asian market. This most likely means that Mitsubishi will no longer bring new models to Europe. We therefore give you 5 reasons why Mitsubishi should not be lost as a car brand.
In the 1970s, Mitsubishi introduced itself in Europe with the Colt models. Some models that would come out of this are; the Galant, the Lancer and of course the Colt. The 1970s prove to be crucial to get a foot in the door for Mitsubishi within Europe. However, when the early eighties begin, the brand dares to profile itself more with its own image. Some special models are introduced such as the Starion, a sports car where Mitsubishi wanted to participate in Group B rally . The Lancer taking his first tentative steps as it progressed decades to become a rally cannon. And the Pajero, the sublime SUV with which it wins a serious race for the first time in 1985.
Despite the fact that Pajero means the same in Spanish, as English who euhm, put on their belt … In 1985 the Pajero / Shogun managed to break away from the Group B Audi Quattro and the debuting Porsche 959 to win the event. It turns out to be the start of a romantic adventure, in which Mitsubishi manages to win the event no less than 12 times. From 2001 to 2007, Mitsubishi seems unbeatable with various evolutions of the Pajero . The Dakar is won no less than 7 times in a row, a record that still stands today.
3. The Dutch connection
Mitsubishi Europe’s head office is located in Born in Limburg. In 1991, Mitsubishi joined Volvo and the Dutch state to create Nedcar. Models like the Space Star and the Carisma were said to be produced here in the 1990s. Production of the very popular Outlander was also transferred to the factory in Born in 2008. It can therefore be safely said that in this way Mitsubishi has a special connection to our small country.
4. The last rally cannon
Let’s face it, Mitsubishi has become best known to car enthusiasts for the Lancer Evo. This rally cannon starts from Evo 3, causing a furore in the world rally championship. With this, the at least equally legendary Tommi Mäkinnen would win the championship 4 times in a row from 1996 to 1999. However, a champion car is special because the competition manages to increase the legend, and they don’t get much bigger than Colin Mcrae in the Subaru Impreza . It is difficult to articulate how great the rivalry between Mäkinnen and Mcrae, Lancer and Impreza was.
There was really only one side where you could stand, there was simply no middle ground. But as the models progressed, and the Escort Cosworth was discontinued. The Imprezza and the Lancer remained, until even Subaru decided not to deliver their WRX STI in the Netherlands anymore. The Lancer Evo X was the last surviving rally dinosaur, until curtain finally fell in 2015.
It is now clear that Mitsubishi feels comfortable on the dirt. It should come as no surprise that they produced the first four-wheel drive production car in Japan in 1936. In 1974 they also developed the ‘Silent Shaft’ engine, specially developed to limit vibration in large four-cylinder engines. This is followed by the first Turbo diesel powered passenger car from Japan in 1980, the Galant. If we look a little less far back, we arrive at the Outlander PHEV. A model that was very popular especially in the Netherlands because of the tax benefits of a Plug in Electric. Mitsubishi was also quite ahead of its time here, given the current state of electric SUVs.
We hope that with the “Small but beautiful” program, Mitsubishi will be able to find its roots again, and with a fresh start, can re-enter the European market with a successful range of models.