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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Production to End With Current Model

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/31/2014 Alex Nishimoto

Rumors persist that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution as we know it will cease to exist, and now a new report from Automotive News confirms the performance car will die off with the current-generation Lancer.

Speaking to AN, Mitsubishi spokeswoman Namie Koketsu said, "Mitsubishi Motors does not have any plans to design a successor with the current concept, as a high-performance four-wheel-drive gasoline-powered sedan."

Koketsu didn’t say when the company would stop building the current car, but did hint at a future performance model: "Mitsubishi Motors will explore the possibilities of high-performance models that incorporate electric vehicle technology."

We've known for some time now that the automaker had plans to electrify whatever Evo successor they decide on. Our most recent intel suggests the next car will ditch the Lancer Evolution name entirely and ride on an in-house-developed chassis, not a Renault platform like the next-gen Lancer is slated to get. The car would also employ a plug-in hybrid powertrain possibly consisting of a turbocharged 1.1-liter inline-three and two electric motors -- one for each axle to retain all-wheel drive capability.

The move to electrification is part of a larger plan laid out by Mitsubishi Motors president Osamu Masuko, who has said the company must go "back to basics." The plan calls for new or refreshed global SUVs, vans, and crossovers, as well as a new midsize sedan that will share underpinnings with a Renault. Mitsubishi will outsource assembly to other companies like the Renault- Nissan alliance so it can focus its R&D budget on electrified powertrains and utility vehicles. The automaker hopes to reduce its product portfolio from 18 models to 13, shifting from nine platforms to seven. By early 2017, Mitsubishi hopes to increase global sales by 29 percent to 1.43 million vehicles. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

Without a halo performance model to bring customers into showrooms, however, that plan faces challenges. The Evo's departure would be a huge loss for Mitsubishi's already lean North American lineup. What do you think? Should the Lancer Evolution be axed before a proper replacement arrives? Tell us in the comments below.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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