Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Say goodbye to passenger cars! Mitsubishi Australia believes hatchbacks and sedans 'are history'

The Mitsubishi Mirage is likely the last passenger car to be sold by the Australian division.

If you were holding out hope for a new-generation Mitsubishi Lancer sedan or Mirage and Colt hatchback, unfortunately, we’ve got some bad news for you.

Speaking to CarsGuide, Mitsubishi Motors Australia boss Shaun Westcott said the local market has well and truly shifted to SUVs, which is a trend the Japanese brand will continue to chase.

“We do believe that passengers cars are history,” he said.

The last remaining passenger vehicle in Mitsubishi Australia’s line-up is the ageing Mirage, which will be phased out this year due to changes in Australian Design Rules that means it cannot be sold here unless re-engineered.

As for the famed Lancer, it was discontinued in 2019, with stock running dry from local showrooms in 2020.

But Mr Westcott hinted that the Lancer nameplate could return, likely in SUV form in the future much like how the Eclipse Cross kept Mitsubishi's sports car nomenclature alive.

“Lancer is valuable nameplate, we will hold onto Lancer, but it’s unlikely that we’re going to see passenger cars in the future,” he said.

“I just think they are dead, and that’s not just Mitsubishi … just look at the market, look at the trends, the world has moved past that.”

Last year, SUVs made up 50.6 per cent of all new vehicles sold in Australia, a modest increase from the 49.6 per cent of 2020.

Passenger cars meanwhile, accounted for just 21.1 per cent of sales in 2021, down from 24.2 per cent the previous year.

And this is a trend that is continuing in 2022, with a 52.4 and 19.7 per cent split between SUVs and passenger cars in the first five months of trading.

However, this doesn’t mean that all Mitsubishi markets will abandon passenger vehicles, as a new-generation Colt is being teased for Europe (expected to share a platform with the Renault Clio), but Australia will remain focussed on its SUV line-up.

“I can’t speculate on future models, other than to reiterate that we are working very closely with MMC (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation),” Mr Westcott said.

“There are products in Asia that we don’t have in Australia, because the Xpander doesn’t work in our market. In Japan, we have kei cars, there may be a future for those cars with a different concept, who knows.

“At the moment, we don’t use every vehicle in every market. We really, as a company, look to what is our core market, what is our target market within that, what do they need, what do they desire and how can we meet those needs.

“Ultimately, we have to satisfy customer needs.”

Mitsubishi Australia is well placed to capitalise on these ‘customer needs’ too, with offerings in the small, medium and large SUV classes in the form of the ASX, Eclipse Cross, Outlander and Pajero Sport, as well as its strong-performing Triton ute.