Toyota sells pickup trucks in the United States. A lot of them. So does Nissan. Even Honda is in on the action with the new Ridgeline. And Mitsubishi wants a slice of it, too.
“It’s one of the top ones on our list,” Mitsubishi Motors North America’s executive vice president Don Swearingen told Motor1.com. “Now with the alliance, maybe there’s a chance.”
The “alliance” Swearingen refers to is Mitsubishi’s new tie-up with Renault and Nissan. The Renault Alaskan, which shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Navara and Mercedes X-Class, wasn’t designed for the US market, nor was the Mitsubishi L200/Triton. Importing them from overseas would run afoul of the dreaded “Chicken Tax” – a hefty levy wielded on trucks imported in the United States. But a Diamond Star-badged version of the Nissan Frontier (or even the full-size Titan) could be just the ticket.
The last time Mitsubishi offered a pickup in America, as Motor1 notes, was in 2005-09 with the Raider, which was similarly based on the Dodge Dakota when the Japanese automaker was tied to Chrysler. Their joint Diamond-Star Motors venture saw the two collaborating as well on the Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon and 3000GT/Dodge Stealth. These days, however, Mitsubishi is more focused on crossovers.
Along with the prospect of a pickup, Mitsu is reworking its crossover offerings in North America. “Our priority is to make the Outlander Sport a little smaller,” said Swearingen, when the next-generation model arrives in another year or two. That would leave room for the larger Outlander to grow in size, with the Eclipse Cross positioned between them.