Last week, Mitsubishi Motors Indonesia released a teaser that they will be revealing a crossover version of the very popular Xpander MPV. The model, still officially unnamed, is touted by Indonesian sources as the Xpander Cross, following the naming style that they used for the Eclipse Cross SUV.
Sources indicate that Mitsubishi Motors is planning to reveal the model tomorrow, November 12, in Indonesia.
But a world premiere is one thing, and a local (Philippine) launch is another. Will we actually get it?
Now we can confirm it: Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) is already planning to launch the new model. The news comes straight from MMPC President Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, who was seated right next to Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) CEO Takao Kato. Both executives were at the MMPC plant in Santa Rosa Laguna for the 700,000th unit milestone celebration.
When we asked Oshikiri about the premiere of the Xpander tomorrow, he jokingly inquired: "How did you know?"
"Actually our CEO, Mr. Kato, is flying to Indonesia tomorrow," continued the chief executive of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines. "We will introduce the model soon."
It comes as no surprise that MMPC is eager to launch the new model in the Philippines, especially since the Xpander 7-seater has become the most popular model in their line up. Of the 5000 units (more or less) that MMPC sells every month, about 2000 are Xpander units.
The Xpander is built at the new Mitsubishi Motors factory in Bekasi, Indonesia. The plant also manufactures the Nissan-badged version of the Xpander known as the Livina, though the Philippines has not acquired that model yet for local sale. The factory also makes the Pajero Sport (AKA: Montero Sport) in right-hand drive for the Indonesian market. The Xpander SUV will very likely be built at the same plant.
"The SUV version of the Xpander will initially be introduced in Indonesia," said Alvin Dalida, MMPC First Vice President for the Sales and Marketing Division. "Eventually it will be launched in other ASEAN countries."
As for the actual timing, MMPC executives couldn't give a timeline or a definitive date or month, but we expect it to be launched ASAP. If we were to read into it, that means sometime next year. The earlier they launch, the better for MMPC as Mitsubishi does not have a direct competitor to models such as the Toyota Rush and Honda BR-V, both crossover SUV derivatives of the Toyota Avanza and Honda Mobilio, respectively.
We will likely get more details of the SUV version of Xpander when it premieres tomorrow, but we don't expect much mechanical changes from the Xpander MPV, apart from the extra height. As for 4WD, we're not quite sure either, but we'll (Xpander) cross our fingers.