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Mitsubishi’s Rally-Winning Ralliart Brand To Make Comeback

Tuesday, May 11th , 2021

From Mitsubishi’s in-house motorsport and tuning arm, Ralliart, is set to make a timely comeback after an 11 year hiatus.

At the firm’s earnings announcement today in Tokyo, it was revealed that the well-known sub-brand will be revived to strengthen what the company calls “Mitsubishi-ness driving.” Or put another way, that translates as a reinforcing of a dormant motorsport dynasty boasting world-beating handling and performance good enough to win the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally 12 times and capture four driver’s titles in the World Rally Championships.

The Pajero SUV and Lancer Evolution names became synonymous with rally victories from the 1980s, results that significantly helped the brand to sell its 4WD vehicles around the world into the 21st century.

But the company pulled out of the WRC and Dakar Rallies in 2005 after a series of management missteps and falling sales around that time. Then in 2010, Ralliart itself withdrew from motorsport involvement blaming plummeting demand for aftermarket performance parts.

“For customers who wish to experience our Mitsubishi-ness, we will launch custom-made accessories for our model lineup as well as re-entering motorsport events around the world,” said Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato.

After making a triumphant return to the WRC in 2018, Toyota strongly pushed Mitsubishi and Subaru, another brand that retired from WRC around 15 years ago, to return to boost their appeal. It seems as though Toyota’s influence may have had something to do with the firm’s ultimate decision.

According to the silhouettes of the futuristic vehicles seen in slides shown during its presentation, the firm inferred that its return to motorsport would be in SUVs and crossovers from 2023. And given that the brand is putting millions of development dollars into plug-in hybrids and electric powertrains, we can expect the upcoming rally machines to all be electrified. With their history of podium-grabbing performance and industry-leading 4WD powertrains, Ralliart should make a serious splash when they return in around two years time.