I’ve just spent an engaging half-hour in the company of Gayu Eusegi, Mitsubishi’s global product director.
Mostly we talked about the new Global Small Concept, which will be built in Thailand and sized somewhere between a Toyota Aygo and the Colt supermini. It’ll go on UK sale in 2012, effectively replacing the Colt in the line-up.
But also he told me some news, which seemed to surprise a few Mitsubishi Europe bods as much as it did me.
The Lancer Evolution X, Eusegi told me, will be the last Evo. “There is still a demand [for the car],” he said, “but we must stop.” Eyebrow up.
“Our influence now is EV technology,” Eusegi said, adding that the decision was a “policy change”.
It seems Mitsubishi, which is going to introduce eight full electric or hybrid cars by 2015, has decided its image is about lowering CO2, not making lurid replicas of rally cars that don’t go top-level rallying any more.
Eusegi said that customers would find it “easier to understand” what Mitsubishi was about if it was no longer in this motorsport-inspired market.
He seemed to put the rumoured diesel hybrid Evo replacement to bed, too. So the X will be the last Evolution model? “Yes. Maybe the world can change, and maybe someday we can do a motor race by electric vehicles,” said Eusegi. “Maybe then we can enter the market again.”
Until then, prepare yourselves for the end of an era.