Mitsubishi is set to reveal its currently unnamed “all-new compact SUV” at the 30th Gaikindo Indonesian motor show to be held from August 10.
In the lead up to the reveal the Japanese carmaker has released yet another teaser of what appears to be last year’s XFC concept.
Mitsubishi has confirmed the unnamed SUV will launch in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, with it not yet confirmed for an Australian launch.
The compact SUV will have 222mm of ground clearance and four drive modes – Normal, Wet, Gravel and Mud. There will also be active yaw control.
This latest teaser follows shortly after Mitsubishi showed off the SUV’s headlight and speakers for a new Dynamic Sound Yamaha Premium sound system.
Mitsubishi president and chief executive Takao Kato said at the XFC Concept reveal last October it plans to “add an electrified variant to the line-up and to also roll it out in regions outside ASEAN”.
“We hope to grow the model from a vehicle for the ASEAN market to a global strategic vehicle,” he added.
While the XFC concept looks considerably more modern than the current 2010-vintage ASX, its ASEAN-market focus may mean it won’t offer the levels of safety, refinement or efficiency Australian buyers expect.
Senior executives within Mitsubishi confirmed to Australian media earlier this year the brand still hasn’t decided what path it’ll take with a replacement for the ASX in Australia, or if it will bother with a replacement at all – despite acknowledging the fact even the ageless ASX “can’t last forever”.
The current ASX has been treated to multiple styling and tech updates during its lengthy run, but is now around five years beyond the point most vehicles would be replaced by a ground-up new car.
Asked if there will be a successor the venerable ASX SUV, executive officer responsible for product at Mitsubishi Motors, Koichi Namiki, told Australia only that there “could be”.
Were the ASX to be discontinued, the Eclipse Cross (or its replacement, which is coming in at least some parts of the world) would be forced to serve as an entry point to the Mitsubishi SUV range locally. Currently, the ASX outsells it two-to-one.
Namiki-san laid two options for how Mitsubishi could replace the ASX, should it decide to.
The first is developing a take on the production version of the XFC concept for the Australian market.
The second option is sticking the ASX badge on a vehicle from elsewhere in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, likely the Renault Captur, as Mitsubishi has done in Europe.
The Captur is currently sold in Australia, so it meets local emission and safety standards, and it’s built in right-hand drive.
The challenge would be convincing Renault to build the rebadged model in sufficient volumes for Australia, as well as getting it to a price point existing ASB buyers would find palatable – or convincing them the new model is worth the extra coin.
The Captur is a fundamentally different vehicle to the current ASX, competing at a different price point. Mitsubishi is inching upmarket with the Outlander SUV, which is bigger and more expensive than the car it replaces, and is likely to do similar when the new Triton launches.
But core to the ASX’s appeal is value. The current range is priced between $23,990 and $34,740 before on-roads, where the Captur kicks off at $31,800 and extends to $41,300 before on-roads.
Mitsubishi has also been burned before with rebadged Renault products in Australia, with the Express – a rebadged Renault Trafic – infamously receiving a zero-star ANCAP rating due to its lack of active safety features.
Regardless which road Mitsubishi takes should it decide to replace the ASX, it’s unlikely the next-generation car will be in Australia any time soon, leaving the existing model to soldier on in the meantime.
Namiki-san wouldn’t confirm when production of the current car is set to end, but did admit head office is “not assuming” there’ll be a gap between the car currently on sale and whatever replaces it in local showrooms.
Mitsubishi doesn’t currently sell the ASX in markets like Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia, though it remains on price lists in markets like Japan (as the RVR) and North America (as the Outlander Sport).