Several images and videos have been sent to TFLtruck featuring a disguised Mitsubishi pickup truck, and we have to ask – are they coming here?
Over the past few months, rumors of Mitsubishi testing in the United States have been backed up with photographic and video evidence. We know that they are indeed testing what appears to be their pickup truck. There are several names used in various markets, like the L200 and Triton, but the Mitsubishi pickup was also rebadged and called the Ram 1200 in Saudi Arabia.
The one we’re seeing is the face-lifted version, but we’re not sure what’s under the hood. In most markets, Mitsubishi equips their pickups with a variety of diesels, but there is a 2.4-liter gas engine that is available as well. Five and six speed auto and manual transmissions are available depending on the engine pairing.
Why would Mitsubishi sell a pickup here?
Mitsubishi stopped selling their Mighty Max pickup truck in the U.S. in 1996. Two years prior, Dodge discontinued the Ram 50, which was a Mighty Max rebadged. While sales were not robust, many feel that the real reason was fear of pulling sales from the Dodge Dakota. In 2005, the Mitsubishi Raider hit the market (as a 2006 model) and it was a re-skinned, rebadged Dodge Dakota. Sales were poor and it was pulled out of the market in 2009.
Simply put, Mitsubishi’s pickup truck history is spotty on our shores. That’s a shame, the Mighty Max was a stout little pickup truck that was a bargain to buy, and inexpensive to run. Their quality was pretty good too.
Things have changed since then. Mitsubishi is now part of Nissan, and is relegated to selling inexpensive crossovers, other than the Mitsubishi Mirage. Even after tripping on their own shoelaces (they promised us a new Montero – and it never happened), Mitsubishi seems content with building crossovers, not pickups.
What would Nissan say?
Besides, I doubt if parent company Nissan would approve of Mitsubishi selling a truck that could take sales away from the Nissan Frontier. On top of that, unless they built it here, import taxes (the “Chicken Tax”) would surely kill any chance of this truck selling here. Sure, Nissan/Mitsubishi could build it here, but the investment would be extreme.
I think that Mitsubishi is simply testing their L200 in the U.S. to go through cold weather, high elevation and hot weather testing. That’s why other automakers test here. More often than not, foreign (ones who don’t sell in our market) automakers test new powertrains here. We see them all over the place in Colorado, and there are several agencies that test scattered throughout the U.S.
Still, I could be wrong.
Check out the video and tell us what you think!