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New Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux challenger incoming: Can the 2024 Mitsubishi Triton ute turn the tide for the brand in 2024?

The new Mitsubishi Triton carries the brand's hopes in 2024 as it arrests its sales slide.

Can two opposite things be true at the same time? For example, did Mitsubishi have a good sales year in 2023, or was it actually bad?

The Japanese brand is on course to finish comfortably inside the Top 10 selling brands in Australia in 2023, which is unquestionably a good result. The problem is, the brand’s sales are tracking down 19 per cent in 2023 and they could slip from fourth place overall to sixth on the sales charts.

The reality is both things are true, Mitsubishi is still selling a lot of new motor vehicles, but only on the surface level. Dig a little deeper into the numbers and the reality isn’t quite as positive as it appears.

Sales of its critically important Triton are down significantly this year, which isn’t unexpected as it runs out the outgoing model and prepares for the new version in ‘24. Triton 4x4 sales are down almost 45 per cent and the 4x2 by more than 22 per cent, which is a huge dent in its overall figures.

But it’s more than just that, the ageing ASX small SUV is starting to struggle against newer competition and is on course to be down nearly 30 per cent in sales this year. The Pajero Sport (which is Triton-based and due for replacement) is down 40 per cent, too. 

It’s not all doom and gloom for Mitsubishi, however 2024 is shaping up as a make or break year for the brand. If it can turn around its sales slide, it could regain lost ground, but if it doesn’t make changes, then this could be the start of its fade from relevance.

On the positive side, both the Outlander and Eclipse Cross have enjoyed sales growth in ‘23 and should carry that momentum into ‘24, even though they compete in very competitive SUV segments.

Mitsubishi is on course to finish comfortably inside the Top 10 selling brands in Australia in 2023.

The bigger positive is the arrival of the new-generation Triton, which couldn’t come at a better time. Underneath the all-new look are new underpinnings and a new powertrain which are sure to help improve its sales appeal.

There’s a more powerful 2.4-litre twin-turbo diesel engine making 150kW/470Nm, which crucially allows the Triton to match the likes of the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux with a 3500kg maximum towing capacity.

A new model will mean fresh supply and no long waiting lists, like the Ranger and HiLux are currently saddled with, so Mitsubishi is poised to pounce on eager ute buyers who want to get into a new ride sooner rather than later. As recently as 2021, the Triton was one of the Top 10 selling models in Australia, and the fourth best-selling ute (behind only the Ranger, HiLux and Isuzu D-Max), so there’s no reason to think it can’t return to those heights in ‘24 if supply is strong.

But that will be the key for Mitsubishi, because there’s no immediate plans for a new ASX, Eclipse Cross or Outlander, and the new-gen Pajero Sport is unlikely to arrive in ‘24. Instead, the Triton will be forced to carry the load for the brand, so let’s hope the new twin-turbo diesel is up to the task.

Stephen Ottley
Contributing Journalist
Steve has been obsessed with all things automotive for as long as he can remember. Literally, his earliest memory is of a car. Having amassed an enviable Hot Wheels and Matchbox collection as a kid he moved into the world of real cars with an Alfa Romeo Alfasud. Despite that questionable history he carved a successful career for himself, firstly covering motorsport for Auto Action magazine before eventually moving into the automotive publishing world with CarsGuide in 2008. Since then he's worked for every major outlet, having work published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age,, Street Machine, V8X and F1 Racing. These days he still loves cars as much as he did as a kid and has an Alfa Romeo Alfasud in the garage (but not the same one as before... that's a long story).
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