Mitsubishi Motors' COO wants the next Pajero to be a plug-in electric hybrid.
Mitsubishi is interested in reviving the Pajero SUV, known during its stint on US shores as the Montero. However, if revived, one Mitsubishi boss thinks a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid will be the optimal powertrain.
The Mitsubishi Montero hasn't been sold in the US since 2006, but elsewhere in the world it went on to a lightly redesigned fourth generation about the time it left our markets. That generation, produced since 2006, is over a decade old now, and with no successor in the works it seemed that it, too, would soon follow the US Montero's footsteps into oblivion.
However, speaking to Australia's Motoring at the Geneva Motor Show, Trevor Mann, Mitsubishi Motors' Chief Operating Officer, says that the company intends to build a fifth-generation Pajero.
"We don't have a firm plan as yet, but I would say we have an intent," Mann told Motoring. "It's a car people still want to drive, particularly in places like Australia, and it's part of our heritage," he continued.
Mann believes it would be an ideal candidate for a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, much like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. It could use electric motors to control the secondary drive wheels, rather than a differential-activated four-wheel-drive system, a technology Mitsubishi pioneered with the Lancer Evolution MiEV concept back in 2005. Electrification would also help the large vehicle to pass tightening emissions regulations around the world.
There have also been rumors that Nissan and Mitsubishi would jointly develop a Patrol (aka Armada) and Patrol together. Mann told Motoring this had not been ruled out, but that it was "a challenge."
"They are two very different vehicles, but also we would want to keep a level of Mitsubishi-ness and our heritage in what we do," Mann explained. Nissan took a controlling stake in Mitsubishi in 2016.
The Pajero is famous for its go-anywhere off-roading capability, and for having won the Paris-Dakar Rally 12 times, including a a then-record seven consecutive times from 2001 to 2007. In any case, it will take several years before the new Pajero is on the market, if it happens at all.