The recent past may not have been full of promise for Hindustan Motors and its Japanese partner Mitsubishi but things could change going forward. Hindustan Motors along with Mitsubishi, it plans to launch several new cars.
The flagship product for HM-Mitsubishi in the coming months will no longer be one of its large SUVs but an icon of the World Rally Championship. This is the iconic Evo X that combines the practicality of a four-door saloon with the pace of a rally car.
And this four-wheel-drive monster looks the part. The huge airdam, the peeled-back lamps and the big wing get the message across. Four-wheel drive and 290bhp give this car stellar performance and leech-like grip. And the car is just fun to drive. It won't be cheap for the import price will crest the Rs. 40-lakh mark.
Also soon in showrooms will be a seven-seater version of the Outlander. To appeal to customers who seek more flexibility and space, Mitsubishi has chosen to get the seven-seater rather than the diesel. While its earlier bestseller has been temporarily struck off the sales charts, the classic Pajero will be back soon. Mitsubishi engineers seem to have pulled off a miracle and claim their antiquated indirect injection diesel will soon pass BS IV norms, which is good news to its league of ever-increasing fans.
But the SUV that HM will be banking on the most will be the new Pajero Sport. Based on the tough-as-nails Triton pickup, the attractive Sport has got the looks of the Pajero Evo Paris-Dakar raid car. Production of the Triton and Pajero Sport is based in Thailand, one of the largest light pickup markets in the world, which could translate into a cost advantage in India. With a 2.5-litre 136bhp diesel and a 3.2-litre 163bhp diesel on offer, this would make it the perfect competitor to other SUVs.
And then there is the new Lancer, which looks a lot like the Evo. Said to be the best Lancer in decades, it holds a lot of promise for our market. Owner-drivers in the segment are increasing as chauffeur-driven owners move up the price chart, and this could do wonders for the car, especially with big daddy Evo leading the charm offensive. The new 1.8 motor has a very impressive 141bhp. Like most Lancers, this one too promises to be a very good driver's car. There is a diesel version too, a 2.0-litre VW-sourced motor, but that may be too expensive at around Rs. 14-15 lakh. So lots of interesting new metal coming our way, that's for sure.