The end of the road for Mitsubishi's off-roading legend?
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Mitsubishi says its beloved Pajero has at least two years to run, despite the winding back of production for overseas markets.
The Japanese car maker is winding back production of the legendary off-roader at its Sakahogi plant in Japan, with the UK confirming it will soon accept deliveries of its final Shoguns (the name it uses in some markets).
In April Mitsubishi’s Japanese head office announced it would end production of the Pajero for Japan in August, but said it would continue building them for overseas markets such as Australasia.
While the confirmation that Mitsubishi in the UK will soon discontinue the iconic model increases speculation that global production will soon cease, the Australian head office says it is here for some time yet.
“The demise of Pajero is certainly not imminent,” said a Mitsubishi spokesman. “We’ve still got at least another couple of years of sales to go.”
Despite a shift by rivals to fit active safety features such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) the Pajero has soldiered on without. The current Pajero is showing its age. The basic architecture has been around since 2000, making it one of the oldest designs on the market.
In 2000 the Pajero switched from the truck-like ladderframe architectures long used by off-roaders such as the Toyota LandCruiser. Instead it employed a more car-like monocoque construction claimed to bring benefits in on-road manners, reducing the compromises of driving an off-roader.
Questions have long lingered regarding the future of the Pajero. Mitsubishi has not revealed any details about a possible replacement, prompting speculation the nameplate may be sidelined, at least temporarily.
Others have suggested Mitsubishi could lean on its relatively new part-ownership by rival Japanese brand Nissan, which also shares an alliance with Renault. Nissan is also strong in off-roaders and one option is to share major underbody components between similarly-sized Nissan and Mitsubishi off-roaders.
At times the Pajero has outsold the dominant Toyota LandCruiser, although in recent years its ageing design has reduced its appeal. Mitsubishi responded by sharpening prices and adding more features, keeping sales ticking over.