LOS ANGELES - Mitsubishi's seven-seat Montero SUV will be dropped from the U.S. lineup after the 2006 model year.
Rich Gilligan, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc., says volume does not justify the cost of updating the nameplate. "The Montero is good, but the business model was not there for a new one," he said last week.
The company will introduce a redesigned Outlander with seven seats for the 2007 model year.
Montero sales have plummeted in the last two years. In the first five months, Mitsubishi sold 3,910 Monteros in 2003, 2,835 in 2004 and 1,365 this year. The base Montero is $36,424, including freight.
The Montero is Mitsubishi's only seven-seat SUV. Mitsubishi sells three SUVs in this country: the Montero, Endeavor and Outlander.
It killed the Montero Sport after the 2004 model year.
The Endeavor is the top seller, but its numbers were down 26.1 percent through May to 8,688 units.
Sources say the redesigned Outlander will have a 3.0-liter V-6 making 250 hp. It will be teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The company originally wanted to offer an inline-four engine with the redesigned Outlander along with the V-6. But because of budget constraints, Gilligan confirmed that the redesigned Outlander will not initially get the new 2.4-liter inline-four produced at Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance in Dundee, Mich.
Global Engine is a joint venture of Mitsubishi, Hyundai Motor Co. and the Chrysler group.
The current Outlander seats five and has a 2.4-liter inline-four teamed with a four-speed automatic transmission. It produces 160 hp.
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