In its bid to regain its strength, Mitsubishi Motors is likely to focus on its SUV and light commercial range of models instead of sedans – a move which puts the future of the Lancer range further into doubt.

“The world is really changing and it’s going in one direction, going more towards SUV type of vehicles. Gradually but surely, country by country, it’s going from sedan type vehicles to SUVs and I think that’s where we’ve got to consolidate our strength, because at our size we can’t be spread too thin,” said Trevor Mann, chief operating officer of Mitsubishi Motors to Car Advice.

“We only have a finite resource in how much we can invest in new platforms and new car technologies, so we really have to consolidate where we are strong, and where we are strong happens to be where the market is going at the moment,” he added.

What does the future hold for normal passenger cars, in light of the brand’s focus on the SUV segment? “We can never say never, obviously we have a short term focus, we have a pipeline with vehicles that we have developed, but this is the design direction that symbolises what we are going to do in the future,” Mann said.

“Some of the older cars and the stronger names might not continue, but I don’t think that’s a problem. And you look at many brands and their history, they’ve changed their names and designs and you got to keep changing to move forward and keep with what customers want,” he continued.

The Japanese marque’s COO appears to take a cold, hard objective view to progress, with little room for sentimentality. “You shouldn’t keep banging the same drum just because you have that drum. With the scale, we will be able to share common platforms, common powertrains and have similar product line ups to those of the Renault-Nissan alliance if we want.”

“I am questioning internally ‘what do we want and what do our customers want?’ Because if you start saying ‘we have always had a Lancer so we should always have another Lancer’, I will say, ‘should we’?”, Mann said. If the curtain does fall on the Lancer nameplate, the end is all but certain for the Lancer Evolution high-performance AWD sedan.