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Mitsubishi Pickup Truck Is a Must for U.S. Dealers, Won’t Happen Too Soon

Now that the Lancer is confirmed to bite the dust for good in 2017, Mitsubishi is between a rock and a hard place. Especially in the United States of America, the Japanese automaker has one of the smallest (and arguably least competitive) model lineups in the biz. As common sense dictates, that’s a recipe for disaster for Mitsubishi given how ruthless the new vehicle market is.
Mitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truck 11 photos
Photo: Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truckMitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truckMitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truckMitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truckMitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truckMitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truckMitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truckMitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truckMitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truckMitsubishi L200 / Triton mid-size pickup truck
No less than 17.55 million brand spanking new vehicles were bought in 2016 in the U.S., an all-time record. In terms of best-selling nameplates, pickups reign supreme. The full-size segment (F-Series, Silverado, Ram) is the favorite among Americans, but so are small trucks such as the Toyota Tacoma.

Mitsubishi, who’s been recently bought by Nissan following the financial disaster prompted by the fuel economy scandal of 2016, doesn’t have a workhorse to sell in the U.S. of A. The brand's dealers could sure use a truck, as pointed out by Mitsubishi’s North American executive vice president and COO. Speaking to Autoblog, Don Swearingen made it clear that a truck such as the L200 is something U.S. dealers could really use in their lots.

Built in Thailand and sold in places that include Europe, the L200 (or Triton) is a perfectly fine mid-size workhorse that also happens to be immensely capable. My colleague tested a diesel-powered L200 Double Cab on regular roads and off the beaten track and, according to him, the L200 is a great all-around package. In America, however, the Thai-built L200 isn’t feasible.

For starters, the Chicken Tax would ramp up the price into uncompetitive territory. Then there’s the problem of certifying a vehicle designed with the EMEA and Oceania regions in mind. Given these circumstances, there might be a silver lining on the horizon given Nissan’s buyout of Mitsubishi Motors.

The Nissan Frontier, which is seriously old in each and every way accountable, could be replaced by a U.S.-spec version of the L200 in the near future. There’s also the possibility for Nissan to adapt the NP300 Navara to U.S. specifications, then allow Mitsubishi to swap the Nissan badges for its own.

Whichever way you look at it, there are solutions for Mitsubishi’s U.S. dealers to get their hands on a pickup truck. The question, however, is how much will they have to wait for Nissan to give this proposal the green light.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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