The Mitsubishi Shogun has been taken off sale in the UK after a 37-year run, as the final versions of the fourth-generation model are set to be built in Japan this month.
The hardcore off-roader, known as the Pajero in Japan and other markets, has been sold in the UK since the original model was launched in 1982. Since then, a total of 114,164 have been registered in this country. The fourth iteration of the Shogun dates from 2006 and is being discontinued after a number of facelifts during its long life.
The Shogun is built at Mitsubishi’s plant in Sakahogi, Japan, which recently completed the final European-spec models. It's currently producing a limited run of 700 Final Edition models for its home market.
The final Shogun to be imported here by Mitsubishi’s UK arm, a short-wheelbase Barbarian, has been added to the firm’s heritage fleet. Mitsubishi Motors UK boss Rob Lindley called the Shogun "an incredibly important vehicle for us, helping us to be one of the leaders in the 4WD and SUV segments from as long ago as the early 1980s."
The long-term future of the model is unknown. While Mitsubishi bosses have long coveted a replacement, the high cost of developing a platform for a hardcore off-roader and the relatively low sales of such models have so far prevented a fifth-generation model been given the go-ahead, in a similar way to how Land Rover struggled to develop the new Defender.
While Mitsubishi has access to wide range of platforms through the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, there's a lack of similar machines in the Renault and Nissan ranges. There have been reports that a future Shogun could share a platform with a new Nissan Patrol, or that it could be based on a new Alliance pick-up truck platform, of which Mitsubishi is leading development for its next L200.
The Shogun became famous for its domination of the gruelling Dakar Rally in the 1980s and 1990s, taking 12 outright wins. Launched at the 1981 Tokyo motor show, it effectively replaced a license-built Jeep as Mitsubishi's rugged off-roader. It was initially offered as a three-door, short-wheelbase model, before a longer, five-door version followed in 1982.
The second Shogun arrived in 1991, with the key development a Super Select four-wheel drive system. The third-generation model of 1999 involved a move to a monocoque body with a built-in ladder frame chassis, along with four-wheel independent suspension.
The fourth iteration arrived in 2006 and was sold in the UK only with a 3.2-litre diesel engine and an automatic gearbox.
The Shogun Sport, which despite its name is built on a different platform, remains on sale here.