It’s no secret that platform sharing among the popular light-commercial ute market is only going to become more widespread, but the Mitsubishi Triton is set to be the first cab off the rank when the expanded Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance launches its next-generation workhorse.
Since Mitsubishi was added to the mix in 2016, it’s been elementary that the next Triton will share its fundamental design with future versions of the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan, but Mitsubishi global Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta confirmed with Australian media this week that it will be the triple diamond-badged model we see first.
“As of today, we are taking the lead,” he confirmed.
Mr Gupta cited the Triton’s sole manufacturing source in Thailand as a key reason for it to lead its siblings to market, but would not confirm if it was also a result of the Triton development program having started earlier than the alliance expansion.
“It all depends on each brand’s business decision when they launch,” he said.
Mr Gupta explained that the Triton’s value in the equation was clear during what’s known as a “best practice exchange” with Nissan when analysing the current models.
Mr Gupta would only speak on behalf of the Mitsubishi arm of the alliance, but recent reports out of Europe suggest the existing Mercedes X-Class offshoot is in danger of ending with this generation.
The existing Triton is also sold across Europe, the Middle East and Africa wearing Fiat Fullback badges, but Mr Gupta suggested this arrangement was only locked in for the current generation.
Other examples of future platform sharing include the next Mazda BT-50 which is being co-developed with Isuzu, along with the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok that will team with the future Ford Ranger.
Mr Gupta explained that electrification is also being considered for the next-generation Triton, but it’s unclear at this stage if it will come in the form of pure electric, plug-in hybrid or series hybrid. It’s also unclear if a hybrid model would be paired with a petrol or diesel engine.
Mr Gupta also reinforced the value of the Australian market to Mitsubishi’s global business, representing 10 per cent of activities, and including three out of the four models considered key for the brand’s core growth models. These models are Triton, Pajero Sport and Outlander, with the fourth being the Expander MPV sold in several developing Asian markets.
He also reflected that Australian customers are not the same as other markets.
“The aspirations the Australian customer has are pretty promising, and that brings us to put more and more effort into our products to meet our Australian customer aspirations.”
Exact timing for the next Triton is still unclear, but given the freshness of the current model which only arrived in Australia in January 2019, we’d be surprised to see the next generation in showrooms before 2023.
Sorry Navara fans, Mitsubishi is going to get there first.