The news broke at a Mitsubishi event, where Mitsu North America boss Don Swearingen told a journalist from Autoblog the Lancer will disappear from Canadian and American showrooms not long after production ends in August and that 2017 would be the car's last model year. Mitsubishi had already dropped the high-performance Lancer Evolution, leaving more economical variants as the brand's only compact offering.
Mitsubishi Canada's public relations manager, John Arnone, confirmed the Lancer is going away, but added the car "is with us for quite a long time to come -- beyond this calendar year."
He says the company's Mirage subcompact hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan will remain to fill in at least some of the gap left by the Lancer's disappearance, but points to stats pointing to overall new vehicle sales continuing to rise despite falling demand for cars (as opposed to crossovers, SUVs and trucks) as being part of Mitsu's decision to take a step closer to an all-crossover lineup.
Arnone adds the company feels it is well positioned for the future following Nissan's October 2016 purchase of a $2.3 billion stake in the company, with Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn confident he can boosts Mitsu's profits in North America with the addition of new crossover models.
Those include a forthcoming small crossover set to debut in March at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show that will use an all-new turbocharged engine and that Mitsu North America boss Swearingen says will be the best vehicle in the brand's history.
That new, as yet unnamed model would line up next to a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant of the Outlander that has been a long time coming thanks to numerous delays. While Mitsu's US PR crew has said that car will arrive later this year or early next, Arnone is more cautious, referring to the Outlander PHEV's arrival as "inevitable."