Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, no comeback in sight

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, no comeback in sight

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

The news, rumors, circulating in recent months about the sensational return of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo had rekindled the enthusiasm of longtime fans, who still remember the amazing exploits of Tommi Makinen in rally racing. Unfortunately, the idea of ​​seeing a new version of this legendary car is destined to remain a dream (at least for now).

Mitsubishi has categorically denied the arrival of a new Lancer Evo model, explaining that the reasons are purely of an economic nature. The Japanese house does not sail in very calm waters as already demonstrated last year by limiting the distribution of its new models. In the words of President Takao Kato to the Japanese press, the need to strengthen one's business is underlined, before embarking on experiments that could prove harmful to Mitsubishi accounts.

The 4 × 4 sports car market is indeed far from the golden age of rallies and the small number of new offers are there to prove it. Moreover, Mitsubishi recalled the current concentration on electric, hybrid and SUV, categories not exactly synonymous with the Lancer Evo series. After all, the return of the Eclipse brand has also turned out to be different from what the enthusiasts remembered it: perhaps it is a good thing that the name Lancer Evo is not transformed into yet another crossover.

The curious fact, according to the latest news circulating on the net, is that some shareholders asked for the return of the car, a sign of how it left a indelible mark in the whole group. So it has not been forgotten and, even at the management level, the memory of its successes inside and outside the motorsport environment remains alive. Perhaps, in a few years, the number of shareholders willing to get it back on the roads will grow, leading to the creation of a new car.

What about the rumors about Ralliart? From this point of view, Mitsubishi has confirmed that it intends to strengthen the historic brand in the field of accessories. It will be used mainly to create sports packages and customizations, but its involvement in competitions is also expected. Unfortunately, there won't be a new Lancer Evo to keep him company.

Mitsubishi could race in rallies again, but not with a new Lancer Evo

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Mitsubishi could make a long-awaited comeback to the world of rally racing in the coming years. It's open to injecting more performance into its range, but its need for speed won't spawn a new version of the Lancer Evolution.

Speaking to investors during a shareholder meeting held in Japan, company boss Takao Kato explained the first step towards making quicker, more exciting cars was reviving the Ralliart brand in May 2021. 'We plan to expand [Ralliart] to a wide range of models as genuine accessories first, but we will also consider involvement in rallies,' the CEO stated, according to Japanese publication Response. Crucially, a racing program has not been approved yet.

How a potential return to rallying would be orchestrated remains to be seen. In the past, Mitsubishi's rally superstar was the Lancer Evolution (pictured), which retired without a successor in 2015. The firm's current range consists of crossovers, SUVs, and pickup trucks with the exception of the Mirage, which is likely too small to credibly turn into a rally car. While it's tempting to speculate a return to racing will bring the Evo back to the range, even without a Lancer to build it on, Kato doused cold water on the years-old rumors mapping out the nameplate's future.

He stressed a next-generation Evo is not in the pipeline, even though Mitsubishi's shareholders are requesting one. 'Electrification is expensive, and we're still not strong enough. We ended the previous fiscal year with a big deficit,' Kato said. 'First, we need to revive the company. Then, we'll look into putting out the cars fans are waiting for.'

His plans to revive the company include launching a number of mainstream models in rapid-fire succession. The Mirage, the Eclipse Cross, and the Outlander Sport recently benefited from an array of updates, most of which were reasonably well received, and the new Outlander was unveiled earlier in 2021 with dramatic improvements.

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