Preach it, Ryan. (And this sort of thing really burns me, so hang on.)
I’d be willing to bet something like 9.9 out of 10 Wranglers you see around town these days are TJ/JK. According to Wikipedia, 1999-2013, they sold over 210,000 TJ/JK Jeeps. Let’s be generous and say they sold 300k over the 15 year period ending this month. 300,000 TJs/JKs over 15 years. Impressive, right? They’re selling more Wranglers than ever before. Except, wait. They sold 685,000 YJs in a 9 year period from 87-96.
More than twice as many YJs were sold in 9 years than TJs/JKs in 15. And how many YJs do we see out there anymore? I’m sure there are plenty of them, but seeing a YJ in the wild is pretty rare, in my experience. But let’s make this even crazier. Crazier than a bedbug. (You guys got me Googling around for numbers.) From what I’m seeing on Wikipedia, more than 1,513,000 Jeep CJs were built, not counting military, oddball, and the 200,000 J3s Mitsubishi made between 1953-1998. How often do you see a CJ on the street? On the trail?
SO, let’s run these numbers…
196,000 CJ3Bs (not counting 200,000 Mitsubishi J3s)
2,508,000 (civilian) Jeep Wranglers sold since 1945.
[i]If Jeep’s doing it right, how come 12% of all Jeeps sold since 1945 represent better than 90% of the Jeeps we see on a daily basis?[/i]
2,208,000 non-TJ/JKs sold in the last 70 years. And how often do we see them? Once every blue moon? Yeah, I know. The old CJs are classics and limited somewhat by older technology, and you probably wouldn’t want to beat on one out on the trail much these days anyways as they’re kinda collectible, but really, to suggest Mitsubishi did something wrong because they didn’t follow Jeep’s footsteps? Well, I don’t buy it. 2.2 million non-TJ/JKs sold over 70 years, and all you really see are mall crawlers with a superficial, dealer installed cosmetics assembled in the last decade or so.
Let’s take it further! Mitsubishi had been building the CJ-3A-based J3 for just under 30 years when they decided to build their own SWB 4WD vehicle. [i]Gen 1, anyone?[/i] That experience building Jeeps influenced the design and development of the Pajero. Which is where they got the original drivetrain for the Group B Starion, which was refined to become the the Galant VR4, which you might say began evolving in earnest in 1992 with the arrival of the first Lancer Evolution, a model so loved, MMC announces they’re retiring the Evo after 10 generations and everybody loses their fricking minds.
Oh, and how many times has a Jeep won Dakar? Oh yeah. That’s right. [i]None.[/i] (I think 3 entered in 2014, all privately owned.) Mitsubishi, on the other hand, is among the winningest manufacturers to ever run the event, having won 12 times – 7 in a row at one point. They’re a rally company, remember, not an exo-caged, POS huntin’ truck manufacturer (though they tend to do alright in that regard as well).
But wait! There’s more! Effective 1964, President Johnson, in an act of good old fashioned closet fascism, extended the chicken tax (which was originally setup to balance trade after the war from cheap poultry from Europe) to light trucks. 25% tariff on any light truck not made in America. THAT’S why you don’t have Mitsubishi trucks in America anymore. Because they’re THAT good and would likely away at the Big 3’s sales. What are the Big 3 selling most these days? That’s right! Full-sized trucks and SUVs.
[url=http://www.nmg.com.au/list.php/new_cars/2014_Mitsubishi_Pajero_NX_MY15_GLS_LWB_4x4_Diesel_Turbo_4_5_Speed_Auto_Sports_Mode_4door_Wagon/nvic_RTZ14I/]A loaded, Gen 5 Pajero will set you back AU$58,000 right now in Brisbane, Australia.[/url] That’s US$48,000. With that 25% chicken tax tacked on, it’s US$60k for a well-equipped Pajero in the US. How many Pajeros you think Mitsubishi is going to sell when you can go across the street and pick up [url=https://www.truecar.com/prices-new/chevrolet/tahoe-pricing/]a loaded Tahoe for US$50k?[/url]
Absent policy absolving the Big 3 from real, global competition, Mitsubishi would be cleaning house with light trucks over here – [i]just like they do pretty much everywhere else in the world they sell them.[/i] Jeep sells the Grand Cherokee for right around US$40k. The new Pajero might not have the rock crawling chops of the Cherokee, but it’s certainly a better pedigree than the Tahoe, which I’d suspect is a bit closer comparison. And look at that. Without the protectionism, you could probably pick up a well equipped Pajero with leather, power everything, lockers, and towing package for a couple grand less than that Tahoe. Given the way dealers are putting “cash on the hood” these days to move inventory, it’s not a stretch to imagine picking up a Pajero 5 somewhere in the US$40-$45k range, making it very attractive, compared to the Tahoe, and a definite consideration for anyone shopping Grand Cherokees. ([url=http://www.nmg.com.au/view.php/all_stock/2014_Mitsubishi_Challenger_PC_KH_MY14_LS_Cool_Silver_5_Speed_Automatic_Wagon/8189686/]PS: Loaded, turbodiesel, 4WD Challengers will set you back AU$$45k, or US$37k, making the choice very difficult, indeed.[/url]) (Or maybe you prefer [url=http://www.nmg.com.au/view.php/all_stock/2013_Mitsubishi_Triton_MN_MY14_GLX_Double_Cab_White_5_Speed_Manual_Dual_Cab_Utility/8524390/]a crew cab, turbodiesel, 4WD Triton pickup for the equivalent of US$22,000.[/url])
Meh. I’m clearly getting into rant territory, but I cut my teeth on Mitsubishis and have been following along going on 20 years now. Always bugs me when some Johnny-come-lately (present company excluded, of course) starts prattling on and on with criticism of Mitsubishi’s way of doing business. I see it here with comparison of the 4WD aftermarket, but nowhere near like it is in the DSM/Evo community. Bunch of people who never bought a new Mitsubishi in the first place, oblivious to the fact that means they’re neither Mitsubishi’s customer nor concern, willfully ignorant to the great things MMC has been doing in Colorado these past 3 years. That’s technology both Evo and Pajero fans should be drooling over, frankly.
The biggest problem Mitsubishi faces is being too progressive for something like 98% of their fanboys. Call me a 2%er. :wiggle: