Mitsubishi Hints at Entering the U.S. Truck Market
The 2019 Mitsubishi Triton, also known as the L200, made its debut in eastern markets overseas in late 2018. At that time, there was no word of the truck ever making it to the states. It’s a shame because with the Renault-Nissan Alliance backing Mitsubishi Motors, taking a gamble with high risk could have a high reward. In the North American market, the small and midsize truck segments are heating up, and with competitors like the new 2019 Ram 1500 and 2020 Jeep Gladiator taking up the spotlight, it may be now or never to bring the 2019 Mitsubishi L200 to the states.
When debuted overseas, the 2019 Mitsubishi Triton/L200 was sporting the Mitsubishi Motors “Dynamic Shield” design, a signature look across the lineup. Made to handle rough terrain and harsh driving conditions, this truck comes with an enhanced four-wheel drive (4WD) system and two off-road systems, “Super-Select 4WD” and “Easy-Select 4WD”. Each system offers the consumer settings to handle with gravel, mud/snow, and sand in 4WD-high and -low mode, or rock in 4WD-low mode. Sound familiar?
That’s the kind of description that couples with trucks in the North American market these days. Able to tackle with off-road vehicles already in competition, the Mitsubishi L200 has a chance. According to the company’s North American chief operating officer, Mark Chaffin, the U.S. pickup market could be the next target for the vehicle. The comment was a part of a larger interview and can’t be analyzed too much, but let’s look at the facts.
The Mitsubishi Triton, also known as the L200, also known as the Strada, is currently sold in 150 global markets. Mitsubishi obviously wouldn’t be starting from scratch, and already has a large presence – just not in the U.S. when it comes to pickup trucks. That’s where its new role within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance can greatly impact the choice to enter the truck into the U.S. market. Mitsubishi Motors will be overseeing the development of the next-generation midsize truck body-on-frame platform for the Alliance. It will be used on a number of vehicles, such as the Renault Alaskan and the Nissan Navara, so why not the Triton? That new platform could sweeten the pot in the North American market, always looking for the next best thing.
When it comes to the midsize truck market, it nearly died back in the early 2000s when they were as notorious as SUVs for low mileage, high emissions, and poor crash ratings. This, coupled with the increasing consumer demand for more well-equipped vehicles put midsize trucks at a disadvantage. That will be a decade ago in 2020. That’s why, although not confirmed, that Mitsubishi Motors will eventually bring their truck to the North American market. It probably just won’t happen until the completion of Alliance 2022 and is leaning towards a 2025 for release.
Alliance 2022 is a five-to-six-year plan by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance heavily focused on their cross-brand electric vehicles and hybrids with their success in EV sales in Europe. Another large part of Alliance 2022 rests on Alliance Ventures, an expensive funding campaign that invested $1 billion in order to support open innovation, startups, and entrepreneurs in technology for robotaxis, car sharing, EV batteries, and EV charging. With this as their main focus, it’s understandable why the automaker may wait on entering such a competitive market.
What do you think? Would you be interested in a truck from Mitsubishi Motors, or are you more interested in their hybrid ventures, like the Engelberg Tourer concept? Join the discussion on University Mitsubishi social media.