Mitsubishi took quite a bit of heat for slapping the Eclipse name on a crossover but, apparently, that heat wasn’t enough as the brand is now looking at slapping the Lancer name – yes, the name that was affiliated with a sporty little sedan with rally DNA – on a damn crossover. The worst part is that the guys behind this abortion of failed thought process believe that a crossover-type vehicle will be able to compete with C-Segment hatchbacks like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. Mitsubishi has been successful in improving sales thus far, but is slapping the Lancer name on a crossover that wants to be a hatchback taking things too far?

Mitsubishi’s Future

As if Ruining the Eclipse Name Wasn't Enough, Mitsubishi Will Now Slap a Lancer Badge on an SUV Exterior
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We have a long-range product plan that’s pretty solid until 2025, and a dotted line beyond that

Mitsubishi is working to replace a lot of its lineup, including the ASX, the Outlander, and the Triton (L200 pickup for those of you in some markets.) Mitsubishi Boss, Briton Trevor Mann, said, “ We have a long-range product plan that’s pretty solid until 2025, and a dotted line beyond that,” he explained. “Within that what we’ve said is, ‘Which vehicles do we want?” He continued, “What are we going to work on?’ We’re going to replace ASX, Outlander, and Triton [the L200 pick-up]. Then we have these two boxes: Pajero and Lancer.”

With that said, the brand is seriously looking to take on the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. It sounds pretty promising, right? It does, and it seems like there’s a good thought process going: “Lancer’s probably the easiest one; we believe we’ve got a solution that could fit the segment. Because if you look globally, the C-segment hatchback [Golf and Focus] market is not shrinking. It’s down a bit in the US and Europe. But its numbers are still expanding in China. So there is appeal. And I think because the segment is so large globally, we’ve got to take a look at it.”

So far so good, but in the same interview with Autoexpress, Mitsubishi Chief Designer, Tsunehiro Kunimoto, threw shade all over what could have been, saying, "Just because it’s C-segment doesn’t mean it has to be a very conventional hatchback. Maybe we can create a new type of hatchback vehicle. We’re thinking quite radically. Originality is as much a part of the Mitsubishi design philosophy now as consistency."

Ugh… we seriously can’t make this stuff up, folks. So, what will this “new type of hatchback” be?

Mitsubishi’s New Type of Hatchback

As if Ruining the Eclipse Name Wasn't Enough, Mitsubishi Will Now Slap a Lancer Badge on an SUV Exterior
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The design direction was previewed by the e-Evolution that was showcased at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

There isn’t official word on what the new Lancer will be, however, Kunimoto told Autoexpress that the design direction was previewed by the e-Evolution that was showcased at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. As you already know, that was a high-riding, somewhat-aggressive-looking crossover that received very mixed reviews. Does anything that sits that high off the ground and rock a crossover body style have any business wearing the Lancer name or is Mitsubishi slandering what little history it has left by trying to capitalize off of its old mojo?

Final Thoughts

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer High Resolution Exterior
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Maybe it’ll turn out to be a nice vehicle, but that’s not the point.

Here’s the deal. Mitsubishi killed off the Lancer not that long ago because of poor sales. That much is undisputed. The problem was that Subaru gave up on the Lancer name long ago. Meanwhile, the Subaru WRX still lives on unopposed and living quite well at that. The Lancer name would have never died in the first place had Mitsubishi given it a proper update and redesign six years ago when it was already long overdue. Instead, the poor bastard of a car slithered on with poor sales, lackluster interior, and subpar power because Mitsubishi didn’t care. Fans of the car and rally still remember the car and name for what it was, but to slap it on a crossover is a bit much.

This is nothing more than a move by a brand that was dying not that long ago to capitalize on its history and the fanboys that remember the name. This is what it did with the Eclipse, and now it’s doing it with the Lancer. Maybe it’ll turn out to be a nice vehicle, but that’s not the point. The Lancer should still be alive and kicking as a sports sedan with rally DNA, not as a crossover used to haul the family back and forth from band practice and track meets.

References

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer.

As if Ruining the Eclipse Name Wasn't Enough, Mitsubishi Will Now Slap a Lancer Badge on an SUV Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept.

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Read more Mitsubishi news.

Source: Auto Express

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