It’s been a little more than a decade since Mitsubishi has done anything with the Ralliart name. At one time, the familiar black, red and gold logo was everywhere — on its world rally team, obviously the Lancer Evolution and even a hotted-up Eclipse concept that never made production. Ralliart was Mitsubishi’s sporting soul, and its disappearance was ominous and telling. At long last, it’s coming back.
Mitsubishi announced a “revival of the Ralliart brand” in a slide deck during its latest earnings call early Wednesday. Its return will be a pillar in the beleaguered automaker’s objective to “realize Mitsubishi Motors-ness” (I wish I was making that up) through engaging driving, adventurous vehicles and the embrace of electrification, safety, security and comfort. In other words, what everyone in this business wants to do.
But hey — as part of the deal, Mitsubishi might actually go racing again.
“We have decided to relaunch the Ralliart brand for customers in Mitsubishi Motors brand who want to add to Mitsubishi Motors-ness even more,” the carmaker’s CEO Takao Kato said during the call. “In the future, we plan to develop items, genuine accessories for a wide range of models, and we would like to take opportunity to be involved in motor sports as well.”
While there’s no word on what cars Mitsubishi intends to support with the Ralliart treatment, nor what forms of motorsport Mitsubishi intends to contest, the company did provide a rendering of its Triton pickup festooned with the appropriate red trim accents, mud flaps and stripe vinyls.
Of course, Mitsubishi doesn’t sell the Triton in the states, so it’s unlikely we’d ever get such a vehicle. Taking a gander at the company’s current North American lineup, it sells only four SUVs after you take the Mirage out of the equation.
We don’t yet know if Ralliart will be exclusive to Asia or what, but if Mitsubishi did bring it here, it could operate as a counterpart to Toyota’s TRD Pro or Subaru’s new Wilderness line. I assume the fever for performance off-roading hasn’t slipped by Mitsubishi’s top brass, but if it has, hey — maybe y’all should consider it. It’s all the rage right now.
Hell, I’ve always thought the Outlander Sport was a cool looking crossover, even if it’s been woefully underwhelming for 10 years now. Jack it up, bring back the manual (or at least ditch the CVT), by god give it more than the 150 horsepower it has and throw Ralliart badges all over the damn place. I reckon that’d be a decent way to extend Mitsubishi Motors-ness to the masses.