Over the last few years, Mitsubishi has fallen a bit by the wayside as an automotive brand. Sure, more than 87,000 Americans took home a spanking new Mitsubishi last year, but the lineup has dwindled to three anonymous crossovers — the Outlander, Outlander Sport and Eclipse Cross — and the hyper-economical Mirage. And from a car enthusiast perspective, there's seldom any reason to discuss Mitsubishi, except nostalgia for the Lancer Evolution.
The Lancer Evo was the production version of Mitsubishi's title-winning rally sedan from the late 1990s, basically the Mitsubishi equivalent of the Subaru WRX STI. The U.S. version was one of the best value sports cars out there. It put out 291 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, featured a manual transmission and started for less than $35,000. Unfortunately, Mitsubishi took it out of production in 2015.
Nissan, after buying a controlling stake in Mitsubishi, has been plotting a revival for the company. The Lancer Evo seems like a car that could put Mitsubishi back on the map — indeed, Mitsubishi shareholders have specifically requested it. And Mitsubishi's recent decision to bring back its Ralliart performance and accessories brand raised hopes. But according to reports from Japan spotted by Motor1, Mitsubishi president Takao Kato has shot down the idea of bringing the Lancer Evo back soon.
Kato's reasoning is sound. Mitsubishi turned a deficit while investing in electrification; therefore, he believes the company needs to be on a firmer footing before investing in a car like the Lancer Evo. Although, paradoxically, the Lancer Evo is the exact sort of car that would get more people paying attention...and, ultimately, buying Outlanders.