Mitsubishi’s European sales peaked in 1999 at just over 200,000 units. They were far from alone in collapsing from then on, but by 2012, they were at a modern-day low of below 78,000 units.
Since then, there has been something of a renaissance: it racked up 133,000 sales in 2015.
The on-trend Mitsubishi ASX, which arrived in 2010, must claim some credit for that resurgence, but like so many Mitsubishis, it is resolutely conventional: a decent car with a decent powertrain at a decent price, without setting the world alight.
There’s no harm in that, but all of the successful firms have a halo car to drive interest across the range.
In recent years, that spark has been provided by the Outlander PHEV, which was Europe’s top-selling hybrid (or electrified) vehicle last year. But there are potential bumps in the road, as the competition catches up and governments around Europe start to ease back the financial incentives for hybrid cars.
That’s why the new Nissan Qashqai rival is so crucial. It will sit in the fastest growing sales segment in the world and could add the layer of sparkle dust the brand needs until other new models come on stream.