Mitsubishi Lancer Replacement Still Far Off; SUVs, Utes The Immediate Focus Photo:

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Tony O'Kane | Jul, 11 2014 | 9 Comments

As the Lancer approaches its seventh year on the market, Mitsubishi Australia says that it still doesn't have a timeline on when an all-new replacement will come.

Launched in September 2007, the CJ Lancer is now the oldest offering in the small car segment.

Though Mitsubishi has announced its replacement will be built as a joint-venture with the Renault-Nissan alliance, the Japanese automaker has yet to confirm when it will arrive.

Sales of the Lancer have also been sliding locally, with sales down 46.8 percent compared to this time last year.

"When you look at where we’ve been in the last couple years, our light commercial and SUV area, we’re pretty solid, we’ve got a pretty good range," Mitsubishi Motors Australia Director of Marketing Tony Principe said to TMR.

"In the passenger segment… we really only had the Lancer for a long time, so we were kind of fighting with limited amount of weapons.

"Obviously the Lancer is an important car. The C-Segment is still the biggest segment globally, and Mitsubishi recognises that it needs to do something so [developing a Lancer replacement] will probably be the next cab off the ranks.

"At this stage what MMC said at the Tokyo Motor Show last year is that it will become a joint venture with Renault-Nissan. However right now we don’t know when, how, how long it's going to take."

However, with 4388 cars sold since the start of 2014, the Lancer still manages to outsell newer competitors like the Kia Cerato and Subaru Impreza, with sales volumes roughly line-ball with the Hyundai Elantra.

And Principe explained that due to the commercial success of the jointly-developed Mitsubishi eK/Nissan Dayz kei car in Japan (which is built in the same factory as the Lancer, and is the first product of the Nissan/Mitsubishi joint venture), supply of the Lancer has been limited.

"Our access to volume of the Lancer has been constrained over the last year and a half," he said, "mainly due to the success of the eK and its Nissan equivalent."

"They've been selling around 40,000 a month and the eK comes out of the same factory as the Lancer, and what’s happened is that most of the production was moved onto eK as it was the priority.

"As a result we’ve had our supply [of Lancer] trimmed back."

But with demand for the eK and Dayz starting to ease up, more Lancers are starting to flow back down the assembly line.

With the supply situation improving, Principe says that Mitsubishi Australia can now get "more aggressive" with how it markets the Lancer and improve sales.


SUVs And Utes To Drive Sales In Meantime

Though an all-new Lancer is still some way off, Mitsubishi's planned roll-outs of light commercial and SUV products will keep showroom traffic steady for the short to mid-term.

An all-new Triton (above) is due to arrive either late this year or in the first quarter of 2015, and a new ASX - previewed by the XR-PHEV concept from last year's Tokyo Motor Show (below, right) - is due sometime between mid-2015 and early 2016.

A new Pajero will follow a year later, by which point the current-generation Pajero will have been on sale for a decade.

The Mitsubishi Mirage will also do its bit to bolster sales, with the Mirage hatch currently leading the micro car segment with 3916 sales year-to-date.

The just-launched Mirage sedan is expected to sell around 200 cars per month in the light car segment.

MORE: Mitsubishi News and Reviews

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