Mitsubishi's Director for Product Planning in North America, Cason Grover, revealed to The Drive recently the brand was interested in the mid- and compact-sized pickup truck market in the US.
The last truck Mitsubishi sold in the US was the Raider, which ended in 2009. The Raider was produced by Chrysler Group at the time and was largely based on the Dodge Dakota. Carson admitted that if Mitsubishi were to sell a truck on our shores again, a similar arrangement with another manufacturer might have to be made in order to circumvent the dreaded Chicken Tax, which is a retaliatory 25-percent tariff on light trucks imported into the US that Lyndon B. Johnson signed in response to Europe's tax on American chicken imports.
The most logical partner for a joint venture that would get Mitsubishi the truck it wants is Nissan, which builds the Frontier mid-size pickup in Mississippi. Both companies are part of the global Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance and the Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan Rogue already share a platform. In fact, The Drive points out that this same platform could be used to build a unibody pickup, much like the popular Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, in the US.
Mitsubishi already produces a successful truck called the Triton that's sold elsewhere in the world. Its history goes back decades and it was even sold in the US long ago as the Mighty Max and then the Dodge Ram 50. Particularly popular in the Australian and Asian markets, the Triton's most recent newsworthy moment was winning the 2022 Asia Cross Country Rally.
Carson, though, frames the issue with Mitsubishi selling a truck in the US again this way:
"At the end of the day, we don't have U.S. manufacturing right now, and fundamentally the Chicken Tax is [an obstacle to importing pickup trucks]," Grover said. "You can't just wedge that [global Triton] into somebody else's plant over [here].
We would love to see Mitsubishi return to selling trucks in the US, if for no other reason than it would diversity its monolithic lineup of SUVs.
Source: The Drive