Not long after Carlos Ghosn’s Nissan started gobbling up ailing Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi, it became clear what Ghosn’s plans were. But before the two companies start sharing platforms and technologies, Nissan’s plan is to make Mitsubishi a South-Asian powerhouse, starting with a new plant opened in Indonesia with a 160,000 annual production capacity. Last year Mitsubishi posted a $1.4-billion loss, which isn’t surprising when you look at the company’s ageing portfolio filled with outdated models.
At least something is already happening though, and Mitsubishi has actually released a new vehicle, of sorts, or really, it’s just a trim level… Anyway the Tokyo-based carmaker’s UK outfit launched a new Mitsubishi SVP (Special Vehicle Projects) programme by debuting the Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP last week.
The folks behind it say they’re inspired by Baja 1000 and rally raid-style pre-runner trucks, but those are often tubular-framed V8-powered beasts with twin-shocks per corner and gigantic tyres. This one has a 2.4-litre turbodiesel… Anyway Mitsubishi says SVP models will offer customers lots of personalisation options as well as, of course, aggressive styling updates and bespoke 17in wheels, amongst other additions. The L200 Barbarian SVP also gains BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres to fill out the new beefier wheel arches, and the rest of the exterior changes amount to a new grille, and some black detailing all around.
The interior of the special Barbarian gets ‘suede-like’ seats and individual numbering — these are limited editions — but as far as power is concerned, Mitsubishi is limiting buyers to a 180bhp and 430Nm diesel with all-wheel drive, and the choice of a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.
We’ll remain hopeful that SVP will spread throughout more of Mitsubishi’s range that’s available to us in the Middle East.