Debut of GT-PHEV Concept provides glimpse of next-generation Outlander

By now, most people in the industry know the running joke about Mitsubishi as the world’s foremost authority in building SUV concepts. The Japanese automaker has actually made it a specialty of sorts, if you can believe that. Since 2013, Mitsubishi has unveiled more concept SUVs than actual, real-life SUVs. There was the XR-PHEV, which actually gave way to a sequel concept, the XR-PHEV II. There was the EX, the GC-PHEV, and today at the Paris Motor Show, the GT-PHEV. At this point, an end-game for all of these Mitsubishi SUV concepts should be in sight, right?

Fortunately, there is. Mitsubishi’s long-term strategy has always been grounded on the objective of becoming a market leader in SUVs. Two of the aforementioned SUV concepts are expected to arrive in production form in the near future. The XR-PHEV II Concept, for instance, is reportedly set to arrive in 2017 as the Outlander Sport, while the production version of the eX Concept, will be packaged as a small crossover to rival the Nissan Juke. No timetable has been set for this model, but it is believed that this model is due for a production call-up when the Outlander Sport is released.

The GT-PHEV Concept that’s saying hello to the world in Paris is likely the long-term wait of the group. It’s been touted as a preview version of the next-generation Outlander, which isn’t expected to be released until 2018 at the earliest. The good news here is that the wheels are supposedly churning within Mitsubishi to finally bring these SUV concepts to life.

The payoff should happen sooner than later

At the risk of being scrutinized and mocked for its strategy in creating a whole new lineup of SUVs, Mitsubishi deserves credit on at least one aspect of its plan. It’s been very patient to let its strategy unfold without succumbing to pressure.

The automaker’s goal has been to introduce five new crossovers and SUVs to the market by 2021 and if you think about that plan, the timetable makes a lot more sense now. To be fair, long-term plans like this sometimes don’t play out the way it’s intended. So in the interest of calling it down the middle, there’s still no guarantee that Mitsubishi’s strategy will go according to its set timeframe.

But the arrival of the GT-PHEV Concept does put the spotlight on Mitsubishi now. The days of rolling out one concept after another is coming to a close and if Mitsubishi really wants to take control of the SUV market the way it’s been planning, it’s time to show the results of all that hard work.

Read our full review on the Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept here.

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