Over and out: Mitsubishi Pajero to cease production in 2021

The car is one of the world's best-known SUVs and a stalwart in the UAE

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You’ve seen plenty of them barrelling along on the UAE’s roads, but the time has come to bid farewell to the Mitsubishi Pajero – the manufacturer has announced production is to come to a halt in 2021 and the mid-size SUV will be consigned to the scrapyard in the sky.

It’s all business-related, of course, this decision to terminate one of the world’s best-known 4x4s.

Like most companies not making toilet tissue or personal protective equipment, Mitsubishi has taken a hammering due to the economic problems created by the coronavirus. However, the Japanese carmaker was experiencing problems before the pandemic hit though.

So it is that, as part of a restructuring plan, the company said it would stop making Pajeros and close Sakahogi, the plant in Japan where they are built. Sales of the Pajero had been in decline, so something had to give.

This particular vehicle has enjoyed some high times though. The Pajero was a twinkle in the eye of Mitsubishi’s design engineers way back in the 1970s. The first production models arrived in 1981, but a prototype appeared at the Tokyo Motor Show considerably earlier in 1973.

The car has had four distinct overhauls in its lifetime, and the design, which started out not looking dissimilar to a block on wheels, has matured into something considerably more streamlined.

Here in the UAE, the Pajero’s main competitors have traditionally been the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Nissan Patrol, which, let’s face it, was never going to make Mitsubishi sales staff anything other than sweaty palmed due to the popularity of those pair of beasts. The Pajero did shift some units though, not least in the US, where it was known as the Montero. Over the course of its first foray onto the world stage 38 years ago, there have been 3.3 million models sold.

All kudos to the Pajero in racing terms though as it won the Dakar Rally 12 times and still holds the record for the highest number of individual stage victories in the event, which, as anyone familiar with that distinctly hairy contest will tell you, is a considerable achievement.

Tough car, then. Many will miss it.