Mitsubishi could use Lancer Sportback name on its version of the Nissan Leaf



Various reports might help with filling in some of the blanks in Mitsubishi's Momentum 2030 plan. That's the automaker's new initiative we heard about last month that Mitsubishi North America President and CEO Mark Chaffin said is "setting the stage for new powertrains and vehicles being introduced, new dealerships being opened, and new technologies being developed to make the shopping and ownership experience faster, easier and more enjoyable." The first hints of new product suggested a rugged plug-in hybrid van, something else in the Subaru Outback segment, and perhaps an electric pickup. And after Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance partner Nissan introduces a new-generation Leaf EV for the 2026 model year, Mitsubishi's supposed to get the Leaf for its own use. Based on a recent trademark renewal, Australian outlet Which Car? via Car and Driver suspects this EV (highlighted in the image above) could be called Lancer Sportback.

Car and Driver caught the fact that Mitsubishi renewed a trademark application for the name Lancer Sportback at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 12 of this year. And speaking of Lancers, the Japanese automaker applied to trademark Lancer Evolution on August 8 last year. The USPTO refused the registration, Mitsubishi filed an appeal that's still under consideration. 

Which Car? doesn't say why it believes Mitsu might apply the Lancer (requested in 2020) or Lancer Sportback name to its little EV, but notes that the automaker's been reusing names around the world of late, such as Airtrek, Colt, Eclipse, and Eclipse Cross. There's more where that came from for us, C/D also tabbing Mitsubishi's trademark application for the name Montero, submitted last August and approved in February. That 4x4 launched as the Pajero in 1981 and sold in the U.S. as the Montero (and the Dodge Raider). The carmaker hasn't sold a Montero here since 2006, and ended Pajero production in 2021. A new model called the Pajero Sport filled the gap in the lineup, but that SUV is based on Mitsubishi's Triton pickup sold in overseas markets.




We've got a while to wait to figure out what's up. The new Leaf is expected to be a mini Nissan Ariya based on Nissan's Chill-Out concept from last year's Tokyo Mobility Show. The image above is from the Momentum 2030 announcement, the little crossover we've highlighted has a DRL signature that fits the form factor. Before that comes, we'll be looking for a small PHEV crossover debuting in late 2025 to replace the current Mirage, which ends production in the latter half of this year.

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