There isn’t much going on with Mitsubishi and the EVO. They did present the following April Fools day joke this year – a purportedly leaked internal document. Tongue-in-check, it was fun.
But that doesn’t mean we’re not alarmed by the state of the company. It’d be hard to believe that they could possibly have the development funds to create a successor to the phenomenal Evo X. And we still remember when they shit themselves in the head by announcing the end of the Evo, then a few weeks later saying they had actually meant that it would continue on in a “greener” format. We’re very worried about that.
What’s interesting is that in our local little automobile show last month, where Mitsubishi hasn’t had a presence in years, and in Austin TX where the one and only Mitsubishi dealership recently failed – the show had the complete line of cars present. We don’t know where they came from, but certainly Mitsubishi Corporate had found a few bucks to make it happen.
And then there is the continuing record performance by Antoine L’Estage & Nathalie Richard in the Rally America series and last weekend’s win in the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (our personal favorite rally event of all time). Certainly Mitsubishi provided a few dollars there.
Is Mitsubishi on a comeback – so they realize the unique importance of the Evo and the equally important requirement to actively market it? We can certainly hope so….!
Great news for Evo fans: after several grim years for Mitsubishi in North America, and after Mitsubishi announced that the Evo as we know it will be made into some sort of “green” flagship in the future, Lancer Evolution sales have posted a huge increase this month and this year.
Let’s hope that Mitsubishi now better understands the potential of a performance flagship such as the Evo. At one point in time this excellent chassis was even going to be used for a larger 4-door luxury sedan, as well as a smaller 2-door sports coupe. Both were cancelled due to lack of funding.
And let’s hope that Mitsubishi understands the necessity of keeping the Evo updated and current. Direct Injection would go a long way towards realizing the full performance potential of the current Evo – a would also go a long way towards improving it’s poor gas mileage.
Be sure to follow our Evo category here on the DrivingEnthusiast blog as well as our extensive website section dedicated to the Evo. We’ve got all kinds of images and press releases from all the different years of the Evo, particularly the current Evo X.
Mitsubishi Press Release follows:
Once the story of the death of the Lancer Evolution was picked up far and wide, undoubtedly leading to an embarrassing and probably career ending moment for Gayu Eusegi, Mitsubishi’s global product director, Mitsubishi started dancing and issued the following statement:
Production of the current Lancer Evolution continues as planned. As for its successor, regulations and market feedback will dictate its engineering package & architecture.
MMC has kept the Lancer Evolution sedan evolving as the brand’s highest performing model in the global market. However, as the market’s needs and demands change, MMC is considering not advancing the Lancer Evolution concept in the same way as before, but to find a different direction for the Lancer Evolution model to evolve. The new direction, the technologies involved, and corresponding products will be disclosed in due course.
Many in the Evo enthusiast community hoped this was a retraction but it is not. The current Lancer was already scheduled to end production in 2013 and therefore the Evo X would normally come to an end at that moment in time anyway. The question was what happens with the next Lancer and whether there would be an Evo based on that.
And clearly the answer is no. Gayu Eusegi made the point that a follow-on Evo is not in the plans. Mitsubishi’s statement above simply says that current production will continue as planned, and since it’s based on the Lancer, and since the Lancer is due for a change in 2013, the Evo as we know it would have ended anyway. So this statement says nothing new.
Whether the Evo continues in some form or another can hardly be a up for debate within Mitsubishi… given all the issues facing the corporation as a whole, the Evo is certainly the last thing on their minds and in their development budget. And the Evo, in which the floorpan, bodyshell, and every mechanical bit is different from any other Lancer, is certainly an expensive vehicle to engineer and build.
North American sales of the current Lancer are simply terrible: the Lancer not competitive in it’s segment. Mitsubishi in North America is barely able to continue in the car business, and has side-stepped a horrendous union contract at it’s Normal, Illinois plant where the Eclipse and Galant are currently built. Neither of those cars are competitive at all, and a simple glance around the streets will tell you how poorly they are selling. So if Mitsubishi doesn’t have anything at all that is selling, can engineering a new Evo be a priority, much less a financial possibility?
What a shame this is… the glorious tradition of the Evolution comes to a dead stop because of a company that doesn’t understand it’s own customers. The Evo X was an thorough redesign only partially implemented… the adjustable suspension bits that were shown in the original concept and scheduled for production never made appeared. And some updates that would be timely will now probably never be seen. Direct Injection and a more powerful processor would cure the mileage issue, and a larger gas tank would help tremendously. Instead, it’s all gone.
Terrible news for driving enthusiasts today. One of our all-time favorite cars is soon to be no more.
According to AutoCar magazine in the U.K., the Evo X will be the last in the line: http://www.autocar.co.uk/blogs/autocarconfidential/archive/2011/03/01/the-mitsubishi-evo-is-no-more.aspx. The information is directly from an interview with Gayu Eusegi, Mitsubishi’s global product director. That can’t be disputed.
Yes, unbelievably, the Lancer Evolution is dead. And Mitsubishi will focus all of it’s resources on the long term goal of completely electrifying their vehicle line.
Long live the Evo. It was an instant classic, and the car goes out at the peak of it’s game. Nobody else could beat it. Like many of the greatest performance cars of the world whose parent company lost their way, one day that company may regain it’s senses (if they still exist, which is highly doubtful) and bring it back. We can hope for that day, but in this case don’t bet on it.
Our Evo site, www.EvoXenthusiast.com, has an extensive collection of images and information. Enjoy.
The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville TN USA is very fortunate to have a Tommy Makinen special edition Evo VI in its collection. This is a special edition factory-built limited edition Evothat honors the victories achieved by Tommy Makinen in the World Rally Challenge.
We had an opportunity to get a close-up look at this car on a recent visit. Given the fact that the the Evo wasn’t imported into North American until it’s 8th generation, this may well be the only Evo VI here, and is very likely the only Tommy Makinen edition in North America.
The Tommy Makinen edition has several important functional enhancements over the regular production GSR and RS models which enhance it’s driving capability. Full specifications are provided in the press release below.
Seeing this early edition Evo reminds us once again that Mitsubishi should have brought the Evo into North America right from the start, instead of waiting until the 8th generation. It also reminds us that if Mitsubishi fails, the current 10th generation car will likely be the last Evo ever made. Read more
We haven’t heard very much from the enthusiast side of Mitsubishi over the past year, and that’s no surprise given that the company is barely hanging on during the economic downturn. Just watching the traffic on the lot of our local dealer gives us an idea of the pain they are facing. How many Evo Xs have you seen on the road? And more importantly, how many Outlanders and how many Galants? And do you expect the most creative piece of work that is coming to North America, the i-MiEV, to actually save the company? We had all better hope so, because that’s where the engineering focus and the hopes of the company are riding. On an electric micro-car, in a country where regular gas is $2.50 at the peak of the summer.
But back to the Evo. Mitsubishi now offers an SE version of the Evo, which is nothing more than jiggling around the options – all that Mitsubishi can afford. Sad.
The additional functional options that were promised in the early concept and press previews of the Evo, such as an active suspension, were lost in the downturn. The evolutionary (excuse the pun) next step for this engine, a desperately needed direct injection system and a larger fuel tank, apparently have also been lost. Ditto for any kind of evolution of the SST transmission, which is brilliantly tuned but flawed in execution. A 7-speed version of it from supplier Borg-Warner sits on the shelf… and we may never see it.
Worse, the environmentalists have apparently taken over Mitsubishi back in Japan, and have gotten on the same bandwagon as the rest of the country where everything, absolutely everything, has to be a hybrid or beyond. There’s talk in the hallways already of a hybrid Evo XI. Imagine a 4200 pound Evo because of the battery pack in the trunk. OMG.
So enjoy the current Evo while you can… because unless Mitsubishi creates more appealing mainstream products to carry the brand, we won’t see the Evo evolve.
More reading on this site:
- Mitsubishi Evo blog: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?cat=33
- Mitsubishi Evo blog RSS feed: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?feed=rss2&cat=33
- Mitsubishi Evo section, with Evo history and imagery: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-evo/index.html - or – EvoXenthusiast: http://www.EvoXenthusiast.com/
What else are the Australians doing down under? Remember that the Mitsubishi Evo is enormously popular in Australia, and the Evo vs. STI battle is still going full swing.
Follow Mitsubishi of Australia on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MitsubishiMotorsAu
Here’s the latest Evo ad run by Mitsubishi of Australia:
Central Texas, including the city of Austin and the surrounding suburbs, was hit by a sudden and massive hailstorm late in the day Wednesday the 25th. Thousands of cars were damaged across this broad area, particularly in parking lots and car dealers. One such dealer is the local Mitsubishi dealer, which after the storm looked like ground zero after an airburst. A nice line of Evos and a Ralliart parked in front were all but destroyed: aluminum roofs, hoods, and front fenders were all trashed. Steel fenders and trunklids all dented. Windows were blown out. Some of the optional add-on aero trim was laying on the ground.
One of our favorites, that we’d had our eye on, is pictured below:
It appeared to us that everything else in the dealer’s lot was also in bad shape: from what we could see across the lot nearly all the Eclipses had lost their big rear windows.
The Lincoln Mercury dealer next door didn’t escape either – but it does appear that they managed to get some cars under cover before the storm hit. An Audi dealer a mile away reported in the Austin paper that 150 cars parked on it’s lot were all damaged to varying degrees. The Saab dealer right next door wasn’t interviewed… but given GM’s problems and Saab’s bankruptcy this may end up as a blessing in disguise for them. A friend who works nearby had her Miata racecar peppered. On our way to dinner afterwards we saw many cars damaged, and one even run off the road into a tree. A nice looking Lincoln LS had been pulled under the roof of a shopping plaza store to protect it.
The hail itself ranged in size from the size of a quarter, to the size of a baseball. This is a common occurrence in the spring in Central Texas… and there is nothing that can be done about it.
Some folks have joked that this might be a golden opportunity to get some carbon fiber body pieces, but in reality those might not be covered in the next storm and insurance rates will continue to raise if you file a claim for anything at all. It’s tough to be a car enthusiast in these circumstances.
Evo X enthusiasts have found copies of these videos out on YouTube. Now, Evo.DrivingEnthusiast.net offers them in their original form, unadulterated. Plus, they’re converted to .avi so that you can watch them on your PC or stream them to your HDTV.
These are *very* large in size… probably too large to stream off the server. We suggest you <right click> and download via <save target as> for later viewing.
In our rush to talk all about the extensive new features of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, most of us have forgotten that Mitsubishi has also announced the new Lancer Ralliart. The Ralliart is a detuned Evo X, with a much simpler all-wheel drive (not from the Evo IX, as the press over-simplifies), no fender flares, smaller tires and wheels, smaller brakes, and much less HP and torque. You might compare it to the Subaru WRX in the marketplace, but it’s actually far more sophisticated than that car.
On our companion site EvoXenthusiast.com, we’ve added a series of pictures and the 1 press release that Mitsubishi has provided so far. We’ve also got a very high-res picture of the engine compartment, and it’s interesting to note the relocated airbox (much smaller) and the battery under the hood instead of the trunk (since the Ralliart doesn’t share the same floorpan as the Evo, and also so that it can be offered in hatchback form one day).
Expect a lot more detail from Mitsubishi soon, as it goes on sale in a few months.
Follow the link EvoXenthusiast.com for the full set of pictures of the Ralliart, along with extensive imagery and detailed information on all Evos right from the start. Currently, the site has 194 megs of JPGs and several hundred web pages.
Low res pictures follow:
Ralliart engine compartment
This will be a popular car with tuners, who will leverage Evo knowledge to unlock hidden horsepower.
How about the unusual new color?
Looks like an Evo inside! The Recaros are optional and the sophisticated TC -SST (minus the Super Sport mode) is the only tranny available.