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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Next Mitsubishi Triton will spearhead alliance’s new pick-up generation

Next Triton will have the option of a hybrid powertrain but no prospects of a V6 yet.

The newly appointed Chief Operating Officer for Mitsubishi has announced that the all-new Triton will become the first model to benefit from the brand’s alliance with Renault-Nissan.

In a confirmation of comments made last year by his predecessor Trevor Mann, former Nissan Global Commercial Vehicles CEO, Ashwani Gupta, said that the all-new Triton, due out in 2022, will “take the lead” in the development of the alliance’s next generation of pick-ups.

“For the next pick-up obviously we are working together (but) we have only one manufacturing (plant) which is Thailand, so naturally we are taking the lead to develop the next generation of pick-up,” motoring.com quoted him as saying at a media briefing held in Australia this past week.

“How and when Nissan and Renault get onto the boat, we will have to wait. It is a matter of each brand’s business decision on when they will launch, but as far as Mitsubishi is concerned, this is our core market, and we are going ahead with the development of Triton successor”.

Last year, then Mitsubishi COO Mann stated that the three diamonds will head the pick-up project owning to its experience in the field.

“The company with the most expertise at a certain category would take the lead, which is why I intimated we would be the potential leader for frame [body-on-frame] platforms,” Mann told caradvice.com.au at the time.

“We have 4×4 expertise, and we have framed vehicle expertise. Obviously Nissan also has a level of 4×4 ability, but I think what we have in terms of our AWD system, that defines our brand and is a brand differentiator”.

In an unexpected reveal, Gupta confirmed that the next Triton will have the option of a hybrid powertrain, but stopped short of going into exact detail about whether the setup will be a plug-in or conventional hybrid configuration.

“We have the technology and the know-how to use the same platform to be adaptable to ICE, to be adaptable to electrification like you see today with Outlander PHEV. In terms of the truck specification, whether PHEV is the right technology or HEV [hybrid] is the right technology, that is what we’re studying now, but it will need electrification,” he said.

“We are working on two or three options to make sure that we come up with the right strategy. We are studying all the possible options. We are confident on PHEV because it is a proven technology for us; the question is how much we deviate from PHEV is the answer we have to find”.

While recent reports have alleged that both Mitsubishi and Nissan having been pushing for a Ford Ranger Raptor rival, Gupta has remained mum on the prospects of the Triton joining the Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI and the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in a receiving a six-cylinder engine at some point.

“It’s available in our Alliance – we have this engine in Titan in the US – but whether we’re going to going to apply it to Triton, whether there’s a market, whether there’s a business to fulfil, I think it’s too early to say. At present we’ll just watch”.

In North America, Nissan’s biggest V6 engine for commercial vehicles resides with the 4.0-litre petrol that first debuted in the previous generation Navara, while the majority of its SUV models use a 3.5-litre motor in various states of tune. On the Mitsubishi side, a 3.0-litre bent-six motor currently serves as the biggest petrol available in the Pajero Sport, Outlander and the outgoing Pajero.

With the alliance having discontinued its 176kW/550Nm 3.0 V9X turbodiesel engine some four years ago, no off-the-shelf big displacement oil-burner currently exists that will allow the Triton to rival the Amarok and X-Class, especially after the latter’s Product Manager for Australia, Scott Williams, famously told goauto.com.au last year that the Navara “will not ever get the V6” as Benz’s first pick-up “is no badge-engineered Navara like the Renault Alaskan is”.

Following this week’s report that the next generation Ford Ranger could go the V6 route, both in diesel and petrol forms, Gupta stated that the balancing of fuel economy with performance will be the deciding factor in offering the Triton with a V6 engine.

Although declining to speak out on the much disputed future of the X-Class, carsguide.com.au reported that Gupta has confirmed that the alliance’s agreement with Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) for supply of the Triton-based Fiat Fullback will come to an end with this generation.

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