When the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was first revealed, there was a lot of backlash. Totally understandable, really. Mitsubishi Motors has pulled many of its sports cars out of the U.S., the Mitsubishi Eclipse amongst them, along with the Lancer and Lancer Evolution series. Some of the latter are still legends today. Teasing the revival of a rally car, only to reveal a crossover, was like salt on the wound, and the circulating artwork of a Lancer crossover isn’t helping. Talk of Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC) reviving Ralliart was reported recently by Forbes, and it feels like a rollercoaster all over again.
We can’t help but wonder if this comes from the recent auction for the last Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Makinen Edition, sold in Europe for £100,100, or $121,000 USD. Mitsubishi Motors standing in Europe is currently confusing. The automaker is making its departure from the UK market, while simultaneously starting 2023 with two models produced by Groupe Renault but rebranded and restyled for Mitsubishi Motors. Only being released in selected markets in Europe, perhaps the automaker is looking for a cornerstone. After all, the press release from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance was only two months ago (March 2021).
What does this have to do with Ralliart? Decades ago, Ralliart was known as the motorsports division of Mitsubishi Motors. Like Dodge//SRT, Ralliart was responsible for developing the more high-performance-oriented vehicles for racing on the streets, the track, and off-road. Like Mopar, the now Stellantis-affiliated custom auto parts aftermarket manufacturer, Ralliart also developed many high-performance parts made available to the public. We would be willing to bet Ralliart was popular for modifying the Mitsubishi Lancer for more horsepower and torque, with the Lancer and Lancer Evo models some of the most popular vehicles to modify for rally racing.
Many consumers may not know it, but Mitsubishi Motors first entered U.S. soil with rally racing, setting a new track record in 1962 with its Mitsubishi 500 Super Deluxe. The automaker went on to win the World Rally Championship (WRC) for four years in a row, from 1996 – 1999, with the Lancer Evolution VI (sixth generation). Driven by rally driver Tommi Maikinen, the Tommi Makinen Edition was sold in January 2000, with only 2500 units produced. Speaking of the Lancer Evolution, that brings us back to Ralliart, known for releasing a Ralliart Lancer that was more powerful than the standard Mitsubishi Lancer, but wasn’t made to compete with the likes of the high-performance Lancer Evolution.
It’s understandable why fans of the Ralliart models would be excited about a revival of the sub-brand from Mitsubishi, whether as a motorsports division or an aftermarket auto accessory shop for modifying Mitsubishi Motors vehicles. A Ralliart Eclipse Cross would definitely be welcome. According to MMC, the majority of the future lineup is still SUVs, with two all-new models set for release in the next few years. Promotional art for the Ralliart sub-brand contains an image of the Mitsubishi L200/Triton pickup truck with the Ralliart logo, and another random vehicle with a spoiler and the Ralliart signature and logo (seen above).
Fingers crossed Mitsubishi Motors revives Ralliart. A high-performance model could be just what the automaker needs to boost its presence in the UK and the North American market. Join the discussion on Miami Lakes Mitsubishi social media.