The world of motoring has become a strange, strange place of late.
Who would have believed just 10 years ago that Tesla would now be the world’s most valuable car maker, despite making nothing but expensive electric vehicles, turning out a fraction of Toyota’s production. And who would have believed that Mitsubishi, a Japanese giant with a history in motoring dating back to 1917, would be pulling out of Europe and stopping production of one of its signature vehicles, the Mitsubishi Pajero?
Mitsubishi’s decision to gradually retreat from Europe and to axe Pajero production in the first half of next year comes in the face of declining sales and the company’s biggest loss in 18 years. The company intends to concentrate on Asia, where it’s far more successful and profitable, with a much stronger market presence.
It believes it will remain competitive in Asia with a range of new vehicles on the way, including the smaller Pajero Sport, which is based on the Mitsubishi Triton ute.
In an effort to cut costs Mitsubishi will be working closely with its partners, Nissan and Renault, to use their electric vehicle and assisted driving technology in its vehicles.
That’s very much the way of modern car manufacturing – vehicle makers coalescing with common platforms and shared technology to share the cost of development.
Pajero’s falling sales
The Pajero has been around for a long time, with the current model now 14 years old, though it has been updated in that time with tech like Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Despite a reputation for reliability and off-road competence, sales have declined in Australia, and elsewhere, as buyers sought out soft-road 4WDs or more modern off-road towing machines like the Toyota Prado.
Despite those general declines, Pajero sales enjoyed a “blip” in June, with numbers up 160 per cent compared to June 2019, as Aussies sought out road-trips at home with overseas holidays off the agenda.
Global sales of the Pajero have also been in a slow decline since 2008. Back home in Japan they pulled the plug on domestic sales back in 2019.
With the market increasingly moving towards crossover recreational vehicles, rather than “hard core” off-roaders like the Pajero, Mitsubishi couldn’t afford the cost of re-tooling its Pajero factory to produce more modern SUVs.
The factory also produces the Delica D5 minivan and the Outlander SUV. They’ll be manufactured at its plant in Okazaki in Japan.
When production and sales cease it will be a sad day for fans of the solid and dependable Pajero. It’s still an excellent choice if you’re after a practical, capable off-road vehicle that will take you, your family and all its luggage off the beaten track while hauling your caravan or boat. It’s a thoroughly nice thing to drive.
And it’s a vehicle that’s really earned its stripes as an off-roader, a strength that’s been demonstrated time and again by its stranglehold over the Paris-Dakar Rally, winning seven times in a row from 2001-2007 to bring its total wins to 12 since 1985.
If you’re in the market for a new Pajero then a Fleetcare Novated Lease is the perfect way to get your hands on one. Fleetcare’s purchasing power can save you thousands from the vehicle purchase price on a Pajero GLX 7 seat, so call Fleetcare today on 134 333 for further details.