Mitsubishi Kei EV Concept – click to enlarge

Once appearing as a sticker on every other Proton in Malaysia, the Ralliart name has been left dormant, even as Mitsubishi withdrew from the wider passenger car market, focusing on SUVs and trucks instead. But you can’t (and shouldn’t) keep a good name down for long, and Ralliart is now back!

MMC has just announced that it will bring two concept cars to the Tokyo Auto Salon 2022, which will happen from January 14-16 next year. The two showcars are the “kei EV concept” and a “Ralliart concept car”.

The kei EV concept is described as a new generation all-electric kei-car with “Mitsubishi Motors-ness”, founded on safety, security and comfort, as well as environmental-friendliness.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Concept Car – click to enlarge

The mini car will combine easy handling and practical size of a kei-car with smooth yet powerful road performance of an EV, while offering advanced driver assistance systems and connectivity, MMC says. Sounds to me like a modern day i-MiEV. Remember that? Launched here in 2013, the i-MiEV – based on the monoform i with a 660cc petrol engine – was an EV pioneer before EVs were in fashion. It was also the first EV to be officially sold in Malaysia.

Petrolheads will be looking forward to the Ralliart concept, which “brings together Mitsubishi Motors’ engineering and passion for monozukuri challenges (craftsmanship). With a premium-feel and a strong sense of presence, the styling expresses the company’s vision for the new Ralliart,” MMC says.

The teaser image is of a car’s rear bumper, which sports a very protruding and serious-looking diffuser. The central exhaust (or is that just decoration?) has some red lighting and the famous Ralliart stripes logo is on one side. There will be more teasers before the big reveal, but for now, let’s build up our own Spirit of Competition.

MMC doesn’t say much about the Ralliart car, but revealed that the production model of the kei EV concept will go on sale in Japan early next fiscal year. The carmaker’s fiscal year 2022 is from April 2022 to March 2023.

Ralliart’s comeback was actually announced back in May. Then, MMC said in its FY2020 earnings announcement that the in-house motorsport and tuning division would be revived after an 11-year hiatus. It was also the first time we heard the “Mitsubishi-ness” term.

“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,” Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato was quoted as saying.