You might not know it from looking at today's Mitsubishi showrooms, but the struggling Japanese automaker has a pretty enviable reputation for producing robust off-roaders. Its Pajero SUV built a solid reputation worldwide on the back of its durability in harsh climates, earning it consideration alongside the likes of venerable explorers like the Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Rover Range Rover. Unfortunately, the Pajero eventually succumbed to one particularly harsh climate – the North American truck market. After enjoying a long run, Mitsubishi finally pulled the plug on the SUV's Montero twin after the 2006 model year. Blame evolving consumer tastes, low brand visibility, a lackluster marketing budget, or the need for updated product – in fact, go ahead and blame all of the above.

Despite its age, the current fourth-generation Pajero (itself arguably an extensive rework of the previous model) has been carrying a lot of water for the brand in other parts of the world since its debut in 2006. So it's pretty well time for a new one. Problem is, its replacement is still a ways off. That's according to Australia's Go Auto, which has learned that the next-generation Pajero could still be three years away, if not longer.

According to Go Auto, the next model will be a much-changed beast, with design targets including a major weight loss and increased efficiency to go along with more luxurious appointments. In order to make gains in fuel economy, the plug-in hybrid technology that the company has already introduced for its new Outlander crossover will likely be a part of the SUV's development program.

With the next generation still years away from completion, there is understandably no word on whether Mitsubishi will consider bringing back the Pajero/Montero to North America to boost its volume and image. Company execs have repeatedly pledged to stay the course in North America despite disastrous sales totals, but as we're talking a few years from now, Mitsubishi will have to keep the lights on with new products like the Mirage subcompact.

Do you think bringing a lighter and more efficient next-generation Pajero/Montero here would help reverse the brand's course in this market? Have your say in Comments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      Andre Neves
      • 1 Year Ago
      Mitsubishi's biggest mistake was discontinuing the Montero/Pajero here in the U.S.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andre Neves
        I think a much bigger mistake is the iMiEV.
        Jazzor
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andre Neves
        Agree, it was also because they replaced the Montero with their US made Endeavor... the Endeavor, was the culprit... nobody cared about that SUV
        Greg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andre Neves
        They didn't want to take the time or effort to continue updating it since sales started falling, much like they did with the Eclipse. It's a lot like Lincoln dropping the Continental and Infiniti dropping the I Series.
      MrWhopee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anyone knows why Mitsubishi seem to have given up the fight? They simply don't come out with new models at all. As I understand it, it has a big corporation as a backing, and their commercial products seem to sell well, especially in the developing market, so they must not be short of money. Yet they behaves like dying corporations in terms of new model. Not even announcements that they're working on refreshing their product. A car company lives on new models, without them, they'd be in big disadvantage. When's the last all new Mitsubishi model? How many years ago was that?
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MrWhopee
        From what I read, the tie-up with DaimlerChrysler wasn't a good time for them (some employees refer to it as the 'occupation'). That said, they haven't been competitive since at least 2000.
        Greg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MrWhopee
        The last all new Mitsubishi was the 2008 Lancer which now seems ancient with such strong small car competition in the last few years. I think the Galant was refreshed for 2010. The Eclipse died in 2010, not sure the last year they made the Diamanté... Mitsubishi needs all new models more than double down marketing. New models are what counts, not advertising aging uncompetitive models like the Endeavor, Galant, Lancer, or Outlander.
      foxtrot685
      • 1 Year Ago
      This feature is only telling about half of the story about the Pajero and the reason why it is largely the same. It hasnt changed because its core buyers in other countries have pushed back on Mitsubishi installing too much newer technology because they like the vehicle just the way it is believe it or not. Many customers who buy these things overseas dont want it crossover-ized and dont want it to stray too far from its utilitarian roots. Its largely the same story for the Land Rover Defender, which hasnt changed much over many generations and is only about to change because LR wants it to be a global vehicle once again. Toyota did it too with the Land Cruiser, just not as long. This car serves a different customer versus in the US where most people who buy SUV\'s such as this, the Defender, and the Land Cruiser actually use them for what they were designed to do, they aren\'t status symbols as they are here in the states. What that translates to is, overseas in different parts of the world, it matters not that this vehicle is on a platform thats 20 or 30 years old, it just matters that it works.
      chickenflauta
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really have no idea who is making the decisions in the executive meetings over at Mitsu, but it seems to be one of the most terribly run companies in the industry. They let all of their top sellers languish in multiple markets with decades between updates and miniscule marketing budgets. In 1997, my sister was begging for a 2nd gen Eclipse, and my dad was seriously considering a Montero Sport. Sis ended up with a Celica, and my father came home with a Grand Cherokee. Rest is history, I guess.
      Tourian
      • 1 Year Ago
      The vehicle was doing okay and holding its ground in our market until Consumer Reports launched an assault on it, intending to ruin it by claiming it had a tendency to flip. Mitsubishi countered with a campaign of its own, but it was too late. The test was later shown that CR underinflated the tires and installed heavy \"safety\" beams on the vehicle and instructed their driver to whip the wheel back and forth so much that the rims dug into the pavement. So yeah. Hoepfully will get another shot at these outstanding vehicles and no one pays any attention to CR any more.
      Egon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Before commenting, I felt I should probably go check and see what's in their current US lineup. After Googling to actually find the website, I found 3 variants of the same compact Lancer platform, 2 SUVs, some '12 Galant leftovers, and a golf cart. Even the marketing copy felt listless and uninspired. Some of their press clippings they were touting were from sources I've never even heard of or amounted to little more than "pretty good...for a Mitsubishi." In short, it's much worse than I thought and far too much to expect one model that's years away to correct. In their current condition and with leadership pledging to "stay the course", they're screwed.
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Egon
        Correct. Better to pull the plug now, rather than continue to lose money and drag the entire company with it.
      Rhett
      • 1 Year Ago
      I always loved the Montero - especially the early ones. I\'m currently looking for an \'89, \'90 or \'91 LS in green if anyone has a lead!
        Thereminator
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rhett
        A friend and I drove a (96?) Montero down in Mexico in 2006. We drove on about 100 miles of very bad road...the type made by bulldozer blades,so they were very choppy.The Montero did well except on the last 20 miles the automatic transmission started slipping out of drive,witch was a fairly minor problem. By that year they had added allot of "street" stuff and for off road it was too heavy for my liking(although that probably helped with suspension on that type of bad road). I drive a 1999 TJ Jeep with a 5 speed(nothing automatic) and that's a good street/off road combo for me. I see allot of older Troopers around and I thought it would be cool to start converting them to Electric and selling them...just waiting for those next gen batteries.
      Matthew A Clarke
      • 1 Year Ago
      i'll never understand why they don't do what Subaru does. Make all their cars based off their awd technology and turbo 2.0l engine. rather then have many different variations of weaker engines. Their 2.0L turbo engine is very strong and if they were to focus their R&D on the engine and awd tech, They would be much farther ahead and i would think they would sell a lot more then they are now.
      Autoblogist
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Montero has an endearing look to it. I still love seeing these on the road. If they could\'ve only evovled it\'s powertrain and add the basic infotainment that most cars have today. I think it would\'ve been a nice evolution, no pun intended.
      Krayzeeass
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, it couldn't hurt. Larry Miller, in Boise, already gave up on Mitsu a couple of years ago, which is a shame as it's also the Subaru dealer. I was disheartened by the cancellation of the Diamante, then they killed the Montero and I wept. However, if Mitsubishi does get cancelled in the good ol' US of A, I certainly won't weep near as hard as I did for Pontiac, or even Suzuki.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      Mitsu needs to stop playing around with hybrid stuff and get some solid product in their showrooms!!!!
      Greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only things I know about the Mitsubishi Pajero SUV is from Gran Turismo and Wikipedia. Apparently it is a legendary rally vehicle in the Dakar rally races, has some similarity to the dead Mitsubishi Montero SUV, has never been sold in North America, and is compared to the Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruiser in the Middle East. Mitsubishi desperately needs something unique. An imported Pajero to the US market would be something that could give them an edge since Ford went soft with the latest Explorer, same with Nissan and the Pathfinder. It seems like the compact and mid size SUV markets have gone sour lately. Is there really only demand for full size SUVs now???
        ckm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Greg
        I've seen the new version in Mexico, it's really nice. I wish we could get it here.
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