Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, 1992-2013

Like the giant panda, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution may be an evolutionary dead end. Assuming Mitsubishi global product director Gayu Eusegi wasn’t suffering from altitude sickness at the Geneva Motor Show when talking to Autocar, the Lancer Evo X will be the last of its kind.

Created in 1992 to replace the Galant VR-4 as Mitsubishi’s fighter in the World Rally Championships, the first Lancer Evolution was a return to WRC for the Lancer nameplate after a 10 year absence following the EX2000 Turbo‘s retirement.  It went on to become synonymous with rallying and an image leader for Mitsubishi abroad.

However, that image is changing to one of small electric vehicles. With the deaths of the Eclipse and Galant were announced earlier this year, Mitsubishi is shifting its focus to the EV future and abandoning anything remotely related to motorsports. Unless those motorsports happen to involve electric cars.


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12 Responses to Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, 1992-2013

  1. Tyler says:

    Speaking of EV motorsports, when are we going to see some sort of championship for them? I imagine quickly interchangeable battery packs for longer range. Being able to replace the battery with a pre-charged unit would enable longer journeys and standardized batteries stored at “gas” stations could sustain EV’s during these treks, or during long races. When handed in, the empty batteries would then be fully charged and ready for the next user.

    /EV essay

    I suppose it’s sad that the Evo is dying but honestly it kind of fizzled out of the public eye a few years ago. It’s already dead to me, especially since Rally America races rarely have even CLOSE to the number of Mitsubishis as they do Subarus. Mitsu just wasn’t competitive in my eyes.

  2. JT191 says:

    This would make a better story if the las paragraph had a Charlie Sheen meltdown or if men in white coats came out with a straight jacket, threw this guy in the back of a truck, and carted him off to the nut house.
    So Mitsubishi is going to take the left fork in the road and follow Toyota, Honda, and Chevy to the realm of Priuses, Insights, and Volts, while the remaining sane automotive CEOs take the right fork and follow Ford, Citroen, and Mini. Heck, even Hyundai have the Veloster coming out, which could be converted to AWD Turbo to meet the new WRC requirements.
    Maybe Mitsubishi could take the FIA to the international court for adopting the S2000 regulations and running Mitsubishi out of business, after all, it is impossible to build a car to that rule set…

  3. Nigel says:

    This is sad news, mostly because most car people are not “sheep” that follow what the car makers “feed us”. So we choose something else and let the “sheep” have the A to B people movers with not a hint of spirit. Are fun cars becoming an idea of the past ??
    (Not bitter just dissapointed).

  4. falnfenix says:

    this is pretty upsetting. boo to Mitsubishi playing it safe.

  5. Lincoln Stax says:

    I’m not 100% convinced this is actually going to happen. According to Autoblog “This report of the Evo’s death would seem to stand in contrast to multiple reports that an Evo XI is in the works with a hybrid drivetrain. We’re taking this latest Autocar missive with a few grains of salt, as we can see how Eusegi may have simply meant that an Evo that relies exclusively on internal combustion is dead – a hybrid Evo would seem to offer a nice technological bridge to Mitsubishi’s more electrically minded future.”

    And then this was posted on Mitsubishi’s Facebook page: “Further to some comments published in the press recently, production of the current Lancer Evolution continues as planned. As for its successor, regulations and market feedback will dictate its engineering package & architecture. Stay tuned.” So it sounds like there is a successor. I hope so, anyway.

    • Alan says:

      This report of the Evo’s death would seem to stand in contrast to multiple reports that an Evo XI is in the works with a hybrid drivetrain.

      Yep, it’s dead either way.

  6. Jim-Bob says:

    The problem lies with cost and that there are not that many people who can justify the price of a car as expensive as the EVO any more. Plus, sadly, younger generations have largely moved on from fast cars to fast computers as their primary use of discretionary income. Part of the reason is that newer cars just don’t invite tinkering like older ones did. It is very difficult to improve a modern car without upsetting some other system or rendering it out of compliance with emissions laws. Does it suck? Yes, but it is the way things are trending. Sadly I don’t see any recovery in the near term as vehicles are only getting more complicated and more daunting for the budding gear head in the future. As cheap, older cars continue to dry up the new cheap cars are more and more difficult to work on without a substantial background in their systems. I have been tinkering with cars for 22 years now but would be hard pressed to fix anything from the last 5-10 years myself. How much harder is it for someone who barely knows how to drive and can’t afford a raft of expensive specialty tools? They likely will never even try. This is why the car hobby is dying and will be all but extinct in the next 10-20 years.

    • Alan says:

      Odd that Subaru’s market for the WRX just keeps getting bigger…

      I don’t buy that argument, well-put though it was. The only reason for this I can fathom is that Mitsubishi has well and truly given up on building anything remotely good and is comfortable in its role as Japan’s Chrysler and its consignment to inevitable insolvency.

  7. robakun says:

    soon Mitsubishi will follow Isuzu and Saturn and all the other car makers that bit the dust… too bad. they had a good thing going for awhile.

    • JT191 says:

      Isuzu did not bite the dust. They bought themselves back from GM and moved out of the US market and now stand as the only former GM affiliate that is operating in the black. They are the biggest pickup truck and AUV seller in Thailand and the Philippines, the largest markets in Southeast Asia where Toyota has been chasing their sales numbers for over a decade. And they have that little side thing of being the largest maker of commercial vehicles in the world. Note that the only prosperous car makers are those who have not been selling in the US: Fiat, Renault, etc.

  8. Lincoln Stax says:

    An update from Mitsubishi:

    “MMC has kept the Lancer Evolution sedan evolving as the brand’s highest performing model in the global market. However, as the market’s needs and demands change, MMC is considering not advancing the Lancer Evolution concept in the same way as before, but to find a different direction for the Lancer Evolution model to evolve. The new direction, the technologies involved, and corresponding products will be disclosed in due course.”

  9. Alan says:

    “we only build mediocre-at-best, utterly uninspiring cars – the Evo simply doesn’t fit in with that product plan. Onto further irrelevance and inevitable bankruptcy world domination!”

    -Gayu Eusegi

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