Mitsubishi is getting back in the performance car game, announcing plans to revive its Ralliart performance brand.
It’s been five years since the Japanese firm dropped the Lancer Evolution from its line-up, ditching Ralliart and performance in favour of a focus on SUVs and utes. In its annual earnings report, Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato showed a slide of a Mitsubishi Triton with Ralliart branding and confirmed plans to launch both performance cars, parts and return to motorsport.
“We have decided to relaunch the Ralliart brand for customers in Mitsubishi Motors brand who want to add to Mitsubishi Motors-ness even more,” Kato said.
“For customers who wish to experience our Mitsubishi-ness, we will launch custom-made accessories for our model line-up as well as re-entering motorsport events around the world.”
Kato didn’t reveal any detail of the plan but the image of the Triton suggests the ute is first in line to get the Ralliart treatment. That would give the brand a rival to the growing group of performance utes, including the Ford Ranger Raptor, Volkswagen Amarok W580 and upcoming Toyota GR HiLux.
The reference to “Ralliart Parts” in the presentation suggests a range of performance add-ons will be available to a range of models across the line-up as well as bespoke Ralliart models such as the Triton.
As for the brand’s return to motorsport, Ralliart has a long and successful history in both WRC and the Dakar Rally, making the two the most obvious candidates. While it’s possible Mitsubishi could return to the small car market and take on Toyota in the WRC, the more likely scenario is a return to Dakar.
The now-Saudi Arabian based event has committed to a green future, with a focus on alternative powertrains – such as Audi’s hybrid e-tron. The brand has long-teased the possibility of an SUV reviving the ‘Evolution’ badge so a return to Dakar could provide the ideal launch platform for such a model.