Mitsubishi Express to return as Renault-built van for Australia
Mitsubishi Australia is set to offer a rebadged version of the Renault Trafic van in 2019.
Now part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, the latter concern will bear fruit of its links to the Paris-based conglomerate with a commercial vehicle based on the popular Trafic van.
Mitsubishi chief operating officer Trevor Mann told reporters at the launch of the new Triton ute in Bangkok that the machine will only be sold in Australia and New Zealand.
Mann says the machine came as a result of “a strong request from the local team in Australia”, which wanted to pump up its light commercial vehicle range.
“I’m not a huge fan of cross-badging, but in the LCV [class] it doesn’t matter so much,” he said.
“We made the request to Renault. At the moment we’ve signed a letter of intent.”
Mann says the intention is to have the car on sale before 2020.
Renault’s Trafic currently sits fourth in its class for Australian sales, behind the Toyota HiAce, Hyundai iLoad and Volkswagen Transporter.
A Mitsubishi-badged example would retain the same 103kW, 340Nm twin-turbo-diesel engine as the Trafic, potentially reviving the defunct Mitsubishi Express nameplate.
Mitsubishi cut the Express from its local line-up in 2013 following a one-star crash rating from ANCAP. A spokeswoman for the brand told Drive "it’s not right to be bringing in a one-star van... we’ve decided to make that conscious decision that it’s about safety".
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is no stranger to platform sharing, as its Navara ute also underpins the Renault Alaskan pick-up and Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
While the updated Mitsubishi Triton represents a re-skin of the current model, the next-generation version is likely to share its bones with the Navara.