CAR interviews Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko: why the Evo’s dying

Published: 08 December 2014

Mitsubishi is killing the Evo in favour of electric cars, the new chief has confirmed to CAR magazine.

In an interview with CAR, Mitsubishi chairman and CEO Osamu Masuko revealed that the legendary high-performance saloon series had come to an end.

‘There will be no more high-performance gasoline-engine Mitsubishis,’ said Masuko, who took the top job at Japan’s sixth biggest car maker in June 2014. ‘Mitsubishi is moving in another direction.’

It’s a major strategy shift for Mitsubishi and reflects the global slump in demand for sports cars in a changing zeitgeist. The full interview with Mitsu’s chief is published in the December 2014 issue of CAR magazine, on sale now in print and digital editions. Click here for a free preview.

Mitsubishi Evos dumped in favour or EVs

The Evo’s demise marks the end of a 22-year dynasty of fast Lancers. Through 10 generations, the Evolution models caught the imagination of the public through a recipe of outright brute power, rallying successes and some clever marketing appealing to the PlayStation generation.

But the laity Evo’s time is up, admitted Masuko. If another high-performance Mitsubishi does happen, it will be electric or plug-in hybrid electric powered, he told CAR.

Click here to read an Evo review by CAR magazine.

Mitsubishi: from SUVs to pocket rockets

The new Mitsubishi chief is confident that the world has changed and argues that the company will benefit more from tapping its proven experience in two sectors that are growing: sales of SUVs and electric cars.

Don’t forget, Mitsu launched the Shogun back in 1982 - seven years before Land Rover’s first Discovery. And the i-MiEV lithium-ion battery-powered electric car beat the Nissan Leaf to market by over a year.

Now, its new Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid – launched just a few months ago – is easily Britain’s best selling plug-in car. Since going on sale, it has outsold the Leaf by almost two-to-one and BMW’s much-promoted i3 by more than 10-to-one.

On Mitsubishi’s global alliances

Masuko told CAR that Mitsubishi will remain independent and small, eschewing what he calls the ‘failed marriages’ of two unsuccessful alliances with Chrysler and Daimler.

‘These capital alliances don’t work,’ he said. ‘Two manufacturing companies with different philosophies and mindsets find it very hard to work together.

‘As Darwin said, you don’t survive by being big or strong. You survive by adapting. So we have to be smart and predict where the future is going. That’s exactly what we’re doing by investing in EVs and plug-in hybrids.’

Read more of our interview in the Insider section of the December 2014 issue of CAR magazine, out now. Click here for a free digital preview.

CAR magazine's famous Insider section: the full interview with Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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