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How the all-new Mitsubishi Triton 2022 will look different to the next Nissan Navara: No plan for identical-twin utes

The next Triton won't mirror the Nissan Navara after all.

Reports the next Mitsubishi Triton will be an identical twin to the Nissan Navara are wide of the mark, with Mitsubishi's design boss confirming the new truck will "keep a strong brand identity"

Speaking at the Japanese launch of the new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV - which will arrive in Australia in the second half of 2021 - the brand's head of design, Seiji Watanabe, detailed the steps each Alliance member (Mitsubishi, Nissan and Renault) were taking to ensure future vehicles looked different.

While saying efficiency in design and production were important hallmarks of the Alliance, Mr Watanabe said maintaining brand identity was just as critical to the future success of each marque.

"Our Alliance, we always respect each brand. How much we can share? Several components on the chais, the components inside, we can share to make a very efficient approach, and efficient development. And so we can do as much as we can for efficient development and the sharing of many things. But the point is, the basic concept is to keep each brand identity," he says.

Mitsubishi's design chief also detailed a high-level meeting at which he met with the design heavyweights from Nissan and Renault to ensure they were sharing as much as possible, without sharing too much.

"So we had a meeting with head of Renault and head of Nissan design one month ago, and we were discussing the direction of design (for) the future, and the formation of our design portfolio," he says. "Everything was open, it was the head of the design teams, not all of the designers. The key members of each company.

"We understand Renault's philosophy and the design direction, and Nissan and the future of EV design, these kinds of discussion we have, very fruitful discussions.

"We decided which area we can share. For example, the passenger inside handle on the roof, that is not so impactful to differentiate between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, this is OK to share. But the steering wheel, the customer sees every time, every day, this should not be shared.

"We are always talking abut this kind of differentiating level on each project. Some projects need to have more commonality than others.

"I feel it is very good to (have a) transparent relationship with Alliance design, at the same time, we can keep our character and brand strategy and brand language and identity, while keeping efficiency."

Asked directly whether that philosophy extended to exterior design, and whether the new Triton would look different to the new Navara, Mr Watanabe replied: "Yes, that's right. The keeping of our character or identity is most important to keep and enhance our brand building."

His comments will allay fears, following reports earlier this year, that future Nissan and Mitsubishi models wouldn't just share underpinnings, but exterior design, too.

The reports were born of the Alliance confirming a Leader and Follower strategy, where one company would lead design and engineering, and the other would simply rebadge - or close to it - the model.

But it seems exterior design will remain different, with Mitsubishi at least recognising the need for its own design language. All of which means that the new Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara - both due between 2022 and 2025 - will retain their design personalities after all.

The all-new Triton will appear in the 2022 Japanese financial year, which begins April 1, 2022. We know that the next-gen Triton will share its platform with the Nissan Navara, and while the appearances will be different, the critical mechanicals won’t be, with engines, transmissions, drivetrains, steering and suspension to be shared across the vehicles.