A competitor for the big-selling B-segment crossover is believed to under consideration at Mitsubishi, which has been revitalised by a recent upswing in sales of its key models.
Just over a year ago, Mitsubishi poached designer Tsunehiro Kunimoto from Nissan. A senior designer on the Juke, Kunimoto has been charged with establishing a new design studio in Frankfurt, Germany and overhauling the identity of the firm’s models.
Forthcoming cars will adopt the ‘Dynamic Shield’ design language, which was signposted in recent concept cars such as the XR-PHEV, seen at Geneva 2014.
“Mitsubishi has permission to be bold without being wacky,” said Lance Bradley, managing director of Mitsubishi Motors UK. “Our cars can be more expressive, and we need to be confident enough to build cars that some people love and some don’t.”
Bradley didn’t rule out Mitsubishi going into partnership for a proposed B-segment SUV, but pointed out that the size of Mitsubishi’s parent company meant it wasn’t a given.
“You have to remember that Mitsubishi Corporation is huge, and that selling cars is just part of it, so we don't need a partner,” he said.
“But the flip side is that we are building a reputation as a niche 4x4 maker, so small cars aren't our core area and, because it's an area of the industry where profits are tiny, sharing technology to get scale is very beneficial.”
Autocar understands that Mitsubishi was involved in talks about a platform share deal with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, but that discussions have recently stalled.
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