Mitsubishi on Monday announced a three-year plan aimed at reducing costs and diverting resources to areas that are most profitable.
Included in the plan is the shutdown of the plant responsible for the Pajero off-roader in the first half of 2021. The plant, located in Sakahogi, Japan, is also responsible for Mitsubishi's Delica D5 minivan and Outlander crossover SUV. While production of the Delica and Outlander will be moved to a plant in Okazaki, Japan, the aging Pajero is expected to be discontinued.
The Pajero was last sold in the United States in 2006, badged as a Montero. The rugged SUV is still on sale elsewhere, though even in Mitsubishi's home market of Japan the Pajero was discontinued in 2019 due to flagging sales.
Sales of the Pajero haven't exactly been stellar outside Japan either, which isn't a surprise considering the current model was introduced in 2006. Nevertheless, the nameplate has managed to rack up 3.3 million sales globally since its launch in 1982.
2019 Mitsubishi Pajero Final Edition
All might not be lost, however. With the closer integration of the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance announced in May, there's a better chance a future Pajero might be developed on a platform shared with the next Nissan Armada. Hopefully that would mean a new Montero for the United States, though we wouldn't hold our breath.
Mitsubishi has been hinting at a redesigned, fifth-generation Pajero since the reveal of the GC-PHEV plug-in hybrid concept at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. And in 2015 it launched the smaller Pajero Sport, though unfortunately this model doesn't comply with U.S. safety standards and thus can't be sold here as a modern Montero Sport.
Mitsubishi's three-year plan announced on Monday also included a freeze on the introduction of new models in Europe. Sales of the current lineup will continue, though the move likely foreshadows an eventual exit from the region.
In the future, Mitsubishi's focus will be primarily on Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The move is part of a wider strategy for the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance, where each alliance partner becomes a champion for select regions. Renault will be the champion for Europe, Russia, South America and North Africa, while Nissan will be the champion for North America, Japan and China.