ByUnsealed 4X4December 3, 2015

Citing fuel consumption and emissions issues, Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko has told US trade publication Automotive News that the Pajero is to be killed off from the Mitsubishi production line. The company instead will be focussing on rolling out a series of plug-in hybrid SUVs predominantly aimed squarely at the US market.

While companies in Europe and Australia have had a long love affair with the mighty Paj (known as a Montero almost everywhere but here), Masuko said that the primary focus of the triple diamond brand will be the US market and developing vehicles principally to suit it.

This includes the new Outlander PHEV as well as a small crossover-style coupe that’s apparently going to replace the Mitsubishi Lancer.

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In hindsight, the decision has been realistically coming for a while now. The Pajero’s current platform has been in the game since 2000, and fifteen years is a hell of a long time without a major model update, especially in a market segment as crowded as the one the Pajero competes in. In addition, the Pajero has comparatively “last-year” tech when put up against the modern offerings from the other full-size wagon manufacturers. The diesel engine is getting long in the tooth, the five-speed auto is outclassed and the NVH levels are distinctly below par. Still, the Pajero moniker still commands a lot of respect among loyal Aussie owners and it still sells well in this country, just apparently not well enough.

The new Pajero Sport (which is the replacement for the also dead Challenger) will still be sold here. Although with its solid rear axle it could arguably be seen as a backward step from a technological standpoint to the fully independent Pajero range. It’s a sad day indeed for Mitsi fans.