We've been spending a lot of time lately looking at international patent and trademark databases for the past couple of days. There we saw Toyota filing the Starlet name again, and a possible diesel version of the Lexus LX SUV. This time around, we spotted something from Mitsubishi, and it gives us a glimmer of hope about one of its popular and iconic models.
Just a week ago, March 18, (during the lockdown, no less), Mitsubishi filed the trademark for the Lancer name here in the Philippines. That could mean that we might see an all-new model in the coming years. Here's the best part though: there's no date of expiration on the trademark.
This new piece of information implies that Mitsubishi may have a plan for the compact sedan. The fate of the Lancer has been subject for debate for the last five years. Back in 2015, their CEO said that there won't be a next-generation model. Then, a few years later, they said they will keep the name but likely use it on crossover. After that, Mitsubishi mulled the possibility of it being based on the all-new Renault Megane sedan.
So, what's next for the Lancer? The trademark doesn't indicate what kind of vehicle it will be just yet. Mitsubishi did say that they are not giving up on sedans and hatchbacks despite a focus on crossovers, trucks, and SUVs. Even if sedan sales have been declining in the past couple of years, Mitsubishi says that there is still a business case for them.
The Lancer was quietly dropped from the local lineup, leaving the Mirage G4 as the only sedan in the range. Before it was phased out, that generation of Lancer had been around since 2008. It does, however, live on in Taiwan as the Grand Lancer with a totally different front and rear design.
Aside from the Lancer, Mitsubishi also filed the Galant trademark here in the Philippines as well. It was registered back in February 24, 2020. Given that the mid-size sedan market took a big hit due to the rise of crossovers and SUVs, it's more likely that they simply did that to keep the rights to the name, but it's also possible that they may re-use it.
If so, Mitsubishi could use the Nissan Altima/Renault Talisman platform to revive it. On the other hand, Mitsubishi does not have a mid-sized crossover in the range and could turn the Galant into that instead. The last Galant was produced in 2012 with no successor since then.
But regardless of what the outcome may be, it's good to see that Mitsubishi has plans for those names. Given that the Alliance (Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi) wants Mitsubishi to lead their charge in Southeast Asia, these iconic and well-regarded nameplates should provide a healthy boost if they decide to use them again.