Mitsubishi Brings Back Ralliart Brand, Signs Motorsport Renaissance: Report

After abandoning its performance brand over the past decade, Mitsubishi will bring back the Ralliart name and return to motorsport in one form or another. (Images: Mitsubishi)

Mitsubishi’s performance and motorsport division is back.

Since 2010, we haven’t heard any official word on Ralliart, when the automaker halted operations and shifted its business model – for better or for worse, depending on your nostalgia for the brand – away from performance cars and to SUVs. Now it looks like Mitsubishi is changing course as it brings back the Ralliart brand after an 11-year hiatus.

Mitsubishi relaunches the Ralliart brand

Over the past decades, the company’s motorsport branch has gained notoriety thanks to the World Rally Championship and the Dakar (formerly the Paris-Dakar). Mitsubishi pulled out of both events in 2005, before finally dropping the name altogether, blaming low demand for its aftermarket parts. Much of that recognition came with the Mitsubishi Lancer, which the company also ditched as it moved away from performance towards all-wheel-drive SUVs. Forbes reports, through Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato, that with his recent financial results reports the company will bring Ralliart back, at least in Asia.

“For customers who wish to experience our Mitsubishi-ness, we will be launching tailor-made accessories for our model line-up as well as to re-enter motorsport events around the world.” To this end, the report also mentions two all-new models as part of their “Mitsubishi Motors-ness achievement”. Now, for those of you hoping the company will relaunch the old Lancer Evolution, it looks like their performance review is making its way into SUV. No big surprise there, but it does mean we might see something with the name Ralliart by 2023.

This is where the Ralliart name is best known (at least in North America) – on the old Lancer Evos.

The new Ralliart machines will probably be to be electrified

Don’t think that a performance renaissance means backing down on hybrid powertrains, either. While Ralliart was a mind-boggling revelation from the automaker, Mitsubishi also underscores its commitment to the “superiority” of plug-in hybrid vehicles. The new models will therefore probably house an electrified setup with their Super All-Wheel Control system.

We’ll have to wait and see exactly how that plays out and what exactly that means for North America. Given Mitsubishi’s moves over the past few years, however, it looks like this could be an opportunity to bring some old-school enthusiasts back to the corporate side.

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