UPDATE: Mitsubishi has posted an update on its Facebook page. See bottom of article.
Another one bites the dust: according to reports out of Geneva this week, Mitsubishi is on the verge of putting the Evolution out to pasture - at least as we know it.
With the usual styling and performance updates, the current tenth-generation Evolution is likely to remain a part of the company's line-up for some years to come. The question is whether we'll see an Evo XI when this one's time is up.
Speaking with British magazine Autocar, Mitsubishi's Global Product Director Gayu Eusegi appeared to make no bones about the carmaker's plans and its direction as an EV-focused brand.
"There is still demand, but we must stop," Eusegi said, adding that Mitsubishi has for some time been an influence in the nascent electric vehicle segment.
And, according to Eusegi, customers will find it easier to come to the brand if its message is consistent across the range.
But with plans to have eight hybrid and all-electric vehicles on the market and available to private buyers by 2015, Eusegi did not rule out the potential for a hybrid or electric Evolution - an evolution in a more literal sense.
“Maybe the world can change, and maybe someday we can do a motor race by electric vehicles - maybe then we can enter the market again," Eusegi told Autocar.
Of course, there is always a chance that the Evolution's loyal followers, along with the brand's dealer network - which relies in part on halo cars like the Evolution to bring potential buyers into the showroom - may inspire the company to maintain the model line in its familiar turbo-charged petrol-driven guise.
If the company is committed to being seen as the ultimate green brand however, we could indeed see the end for this branch of evolution.
UPDATE: Mitsubishi has posted an update on its Facebook page.
Following Eusegi's comments at Geneva and speculation across the media as to the Evolution's future, Mitsubishi posted this update today:
"Further to some comments published in the press recently, production of the current Lancer Evolution continues as planned. As for its successor, regulations and market feedback will dictate its engineering package & architecture. Stay tuned.
"MMC has kept the Lancer Evolution sedan evolving as the brand's highest performing model in the global market.
"However, as the market's needs and demands change, MMC is considering not advancing the Lancer Evolution concept in the same way as before, but to find a different direction for the Lancer Evolution model to evolve. The new direction, the technologies involved, and corresponding products will be disclosed in due course."
It seems there is hope for the Evolution name, but not so much for its turbocharged four-cylinder petrol powertrain.
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