Mitsubishi Pajero no longer viable

Legendary seven-seater on the way out.

The great Mitsubishi SUV survival story is close to its end.

Although many Mitsubishi fans gravitated to the brand through the gaming console performance of its Lancer Evos, the reality for South Africans has always been Pajero. For three decades the Pajero has been a proven adventure SUV, capable of touring all across southern Africa, without bother.

Mitsubishi’s future product development can no longer afford to carry the outdated ladder-frame SUV. In production since 2006, time is finally being called on the Pajero.

With its ageing platform and cabin architecture, not to mention relatively underpowered and inefficient engines, the Pajero is unable to compete with a surge of newer seven-seat SUVs.

It was only a few months ago, in March 2020, where Mitsubishi proposed an all-new Pajero would be coming in late 2021 or 2022. It seems, however, that idea has been canned as the brand focusses on small to medium-sized SUVs going forward. 

News from the Japanese industrial media is that Mitsubishi is keen to close the Pajero production facility, which has fallen below its profit threshold. At one stage the Pajero was a profit anchor for Mitsubishi, but with sales trickling to half, especially in crucial markets such as Australia, the costing logic for its production has disappeared.

Respected by Toyota and Land Rover owners for its blend of on-road comfort and off-road touring ability, the Pajero simply finds itself without a feature of excellence in 2020. It does not have the ground clearance or traction to be a true grade 5 off-roader, nor is it comfortable or agile enough to compete with Ford’s Everest.

A small number of committed Pajero followers will still be in the market for one, appreciating the mechanical cleverness of its Super-Select transfers case and the proven durability of Mitsubishi’s 3.2-litre turbodiesel engine. But with global demand vanishing, the end is near, for Pajero.

Both the short- and long-wheelbase Pajeros are still listed for sale on Mitsubishi’s South African website, retailing for R729 995 and R819 995.

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