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Mitsubishi Pajero axed! End of the road for ageing off-road icon as brand battles record losses

It's the end of the road for the Mitsubishi Pajero.

The Mitsubishi Pajero will finally be removed from sale next year, with the icon's Japanese factory to be shuttered in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, largely limiting Australia's large off-road SUV options to the Toyota LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol.

Mitsubishi made the announcement when forecasting a staggering expected operating loss, with the brand bracing for a loss of 140 billion yen ($1.8b) when the Japanese financial year ends in March 2021 - the company's biggest loss in 18 years.

As a result, the brand is making moves to reduce it workforce, cut models and streamline manufacturing, with the brand targeting a 20 per cent reduction in overall costs in the next two years.

And the first to go will be the Pajero. The off-road icon - last fully updated in 2006 - remains on sale in Australia for now. In fact, it was just updated for 2020 here, with Mitsubishi trimming the line-up from three to two models, and adding extra equipment.

The SUV was axed in Japan in 2019, but continued in export markets. But the bell will at last toll for the mighty Mitsubishi next year, with the brand citing falling demand, and with it falling profitability at the Gifu Prefecture manufacturing facility, for the Pajero.

“To pave the way to recovery, the top priority of all executives is to share a sense of crisis with employees to execute cost reductions,” said Mitsubishi Chief Executive, Takeo Kato.