Yesterday, we reported that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) was apparently looking to stop making the Pajero at the company's Pajero Manufacturing Co. Ltd factory. Mitsubishi has already halted all domestic sales of the Pajero in Japan and is only making them for export markets.
But with the factory only producing a total of 63,000 examples last year, the low production numbers equated to only about 10% of Mitsubishi's domestic production.
Now, Mitsubishi has officially announced that they will be shutting down operations at the said factory. According to the automaker, they will cease making the Pajero in the first half of 2021. The decision was made after a meeting of the company's board of directors was held. Once production of the Pajero officially halts, the factory will be closed and the manufacturing of the other models (Delica D:5 and Outlander) will be moved to Mitsubishi's Okazaki factory.
With dropping demand in big SUVs and CAFE regulations convinced Mitsubishi to cease one of their proudest nameplates ever, and it seems the planned closure of the factory may have been expedited by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the company's new mid-term plan, the closing of the factory will allow Mitsubishi to save on costs as the company restructures itself amid the global pandemic.
With the factory itself having a capital of JPY 610 million (about PhP 285 million), the closure will help Mitsubishi generate more funds for the automaker's restructuring plans. To date, Mitsubishi has already JPY 8.1 billion (around PhP 3.78 billion) that they plan to use during the restructuring.
The shutting down of the Pajero Manufacturing Co. Ltd. will close a near 80-year chapter in the manufacturer's history. The factory first opened in 1943 and was initially called 'Toyo Koki'. It used to make aircraft parts during World War II. After the war ended, the factory shifted into making automobiles instead.
But it was only in 1982 when the first Pajero was built at the soon-to-be-closed factory. For nearly 40 years, it made several iterations of the Pajero for both the domestic market and export markets. With only just a few months left before Mitsubishi officially halts production, we cannot help but feel sentimental once the final Pajero officially rolls off the factory.
Could the Pajero name live on once more in the near future? Mitsubishi has already said that they plan to use it on a future model. Hopefully, the next-generation SUV will befit having the Pajero (or Montero) badge on its body.