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Next Mitsubishi L200 brings raft of emissions benefits

Date: 22 March 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Mitsubishi is hoping to cash-in on cost-savvy LCV operators with its next L200 pick-up.

The firm unveiled the GR-HEV concept - a diesel hybrid pick-up and precursor to the next L200 with emissions of "less than 149g/km" - at the Geneva motor show this month and said emissions still aren't high on light van operators' list of priorities, but it wouldn't be long before they were.

Speaking to BusinessCar, UK MD Lance Bradley, said: "Emissions are going to become more important to commercial vehicle users, so to have a hybrid version is important. And it's interesting because people are not really looking at that at the moment.

"We did some research for the next-generation L200 a little while ago and nobody really mentioned emissions. It's not critical [for them] but it will be by the time the new model comes."

Bradley hinted at a number of other models in the pipeline: "We've got other models: the ASX and there will be a new Lancer. Obviously, we've got the L200 concept here, so it's not a great leap to understand that a diesel hybrid that fits in a truck will go in other vehicles - SUVs for example."

He suggested that a series of smaller cars, based on the Mirage supermini platform, are on the cards, which would make the Japanese firm better able to compete with manufacturers with wider model ranges.

"The Mirage platform is very flexible so there are lots of opportunities to produce other cars, some of which are bigger than the Mirage. That's what we're talking about at the moment - what cars we can produce on that platform. There's one that I'm particularly excited about that I think is very likely to happen in 18 months' time, and then more 12 months after that. We've got a busy time coming up."

A series of clean petrol engines could also be on the way, similar to Ford's Ecoboost and VW's TFSI units: "The key thing is making [internal combustion engines] more and more efficient. The next thing is probably - and it's already started to happen - to do that with petrol engines."

In terms of its fleet business, Bradly said the firm isn't shying away from daily rental in the same manner that many other UK carmakers are: "We've done a couple of deals with rental companies. We've done it before - initially with a few hundred cars on the road. It gets people seeing the cars and driving the cars. We like that sort of business."