Mitsubishi has just announced its FY2020 earnings and unsurprisingly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sales numbers and financial results aren’t good. 2020 also happens to be the first time in quite a while that Mitsubishi’s global sales have slipped to below 1 million units, now standing at 801,000 units. It’s no surprise that the brand wants this to turn around through its Small but Beautiful mid-term business plan, and one of its ways to bring back excitement to the brand is through the revival of Ralliart.
Car enthusiasts used to associate Mitsubishi with exciting cars such as the Lancer Evolution, Eclipse, and of course who could forget the Japanese automaker’s Ralliart racing team and performance division, so this news is definitely a welcome development.
Back in its heyday, Ralliart dominated the World Rally Championship (WRC) with Tommi Makinen behind the wheel of a Lancer Evolution. Through the team, he won four WRC championship titles, and this even led Mitsubishi to release an Evolution VI Tommi Makinen Edition, which proved to be very popular among car enthusiasts.
Ralliart was also involved in the Paris-Dakar Rally, with the Mitsubishi Pajero dominating the sport 12 times. Whatever developments the motorsports team applied to their racing vehicles eventually made their way into their production vehicles.
Sadly, Ralliart ceased its operations in 2010 due to the company suffering financial setbacks and falling sales, especially during the 2008 Financial Crisis. Now, in 2021, the revival of Ralliart aims to bring back excitement to the brand.
Details are scarce at the moment, but based on the presentation photos, it’s safe to say that one of the first models to receive the Ralliart treatment will be the Strada pickup.
The revival of Ralliart also means that its famed racing team will also make its return to motorsports. As for the consumer, it seems that the Ralliart parts will mostly be aesthetic accessories for the time being. For those expecting a revival of the Lancer Evolution or the Eclipse, it seems that won’t be the case as the brand’s future new models are mostly SUVs and crossovers.
“For customers who wish to experience our Mitsubishi-ness, we will launch custom-made accessories for our model lineup as well as re-entering motorsport events around the world,” said Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato to Forbes.
Exciting times ahead for Mitsubishi fans around the world, indeed.