This much is certain: for over a year, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines has sorely missed the L300 when it became a casualty of the newer Euro-4 emissions regulations.
The van, often sold in cab-chassis format before being sent to FB body assemblers, has been a consistent top seller for Mitsubishi and accounted for 14,634 units in its last full year of production and sales (2017). And Mitsubishi simply wouldn't take that loss without putting up a fight because, while it is old, the L300 to them was gold.
That paved the way for the announcement by Mitsubishi Motors that they will reintroduce the L300 to the Philippine market, and it's now Euro-4 compliant. The clamor for the L300 is clear: when Mitsubishi announced that they're bringing back their business van, customers flocked to dealerships to ask about prices and availability, but it wasn't available yet.
A few questions remained regarding the L300's grand comeback though, and we clarified some of them with Mitsubishi Motors Philippines CEO, Mr. Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, during a ride and drive event in Palawan.
For starters, Oshikiri-san said that the L300 will only be offered in one major variant: the longer Exceed cab-chassis. They will not be producing the shorter Deluxe cab-chassis variant that we remember from the old L300. The reasoning given by Oshikiri is that they are pursuing as many little measures of efficiency with regard to production, and to achieve better economies of scale overall.
The only other options that customers can spec to their liking is whether or not the vehicle will have air conditioning, dual or not. And as before, Mitsubishi's FB body builders such as Centro and Almazora can produce the basic bodies that customers require.
Now there's the matter of cost. Mr. Oshikiri told AutoIndustriya.com that they actually haven't finalized the pricing yet, but he did give us an indicator as to how much more the new Euro-4 version will cost compared to the phased out Euro-2 version.
“It will be about PhP 100,000 more,” said MMPC's CEO. “We're still trying to bring that down a bit further to customers.”
To put that pricing in perspective, the 2017 L300 Exceed Euro-2 cab and chassis was priced at PhP 635,000. That means the 2019 L300 Exceed Euro-4 cab and chassis could retail at around PhP 735,000, more or less.
Some may wonder why the big additional cost, and the reason is this: the R&D of Mitsubishi spent quite a bit to re-develop the van to accept a much more modern Euro-4 emissions compliant powertrain. They also had to re-engineer the frame to be able to handle the extra power and torque of the modern 4N14 turbodiesel; while figures are unclear, they say it will have around 40% more power and torque than the 4D56.
Mitsubishi will formally launch the new van to the public later this year with the final pricing and specifications. Given its resurrected status, we can say that the L in L300 can easily stand for Lazarus.