Lancer, Galant, Pajero – what do these nameplates have in common? Yes, they’re all Mitsubishis and are now dead by all means. Well, except for the Pajero, which is still on sale in other countries like the Philippines but has ultimately entered the final stages of its lifespan with a Pajero Final Edition already out and about.
But beyond the eulogical connection between these three cars, they were actually known under one branding: Ralliart.
For motorsports fans, especially those who are more into the dirt-busting world of rally racing, Ralliart hits close to the heart, most especially with its discontinuation in 2010. That branding wasn’t just a set of cool-looking decals you can add to Mitsubishi vehicles; they were ones prominent names on rallying stage – and now I’m elated to report that it’s making a comeback.
In an earnings presentation this month, Mitsubishi announced the comeback of Ralliart in an effort to bring back the Mitsubishi-ness of the Japanese marque’s cars.
Even better, I’ve confirmed – from a source within Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) who wishes not to be named – that the Mitsubishi Ralliart brand will reach the Philippine market and will not stay in Japan.
This was confirmed through a series of meetings between the Mitsubishi bosses in Japan and the regional networks, including the Philippines. Mitsubishi Ralliart will be a global affair, he noted.
Don’t get too excited, though. Details are scarce at this point, including the timeline wherein the rally-bred performance division will enter local showrooms. We’re also not sure which of the current (and upcoming) Mitsubishi vehicles will get the Ralliart designation, or up to what extent will the upgrades cover.
But looking at the presentation from the Diamond brand, the Strada pickup truck could be the first to receive the Ralliart upgrade. Speaking of the pickup, the presentation also confirmed the arrival of a new-generation Strada next year. If that’s an indication, we could witness the launch of the sixth-generation Strada with a Ralliart version in tow.
Considering the popularity of the Montero Sport, we can also expect a Ralliart version of the midsize SUV.
Of course, Mitsubishi won’t stop there. We could also see the Mirage (or the next-generation model of the hatchback) with the Ralliart performance upgrades. Considering what Toyota did with the Yaris and the rally-bred, Philippine-bound GR Yaris, we can expect Mitsubishi to follow suit.
These are all speculations at this point. Who knows, maybe it will be a good three to four years before we see Ralliart here, though we’re hoping that it won’t be limited to just aesthetic upgrades and all that. A full-blown performance version of a Mitsubishi vehicle would surely be a treat.
That said, Toyota and its Gazoo Racing efforts in the Philippines can rest easy for now – but the number one car brand should still watch its back as a tight competitor is right around the bend.