Will French carmaker Peugeot turn to commercial vehicle partner Toyota to help it develop a four-wheel-drive one-tonne ute?
No, not the vehicle pictured above. That’s the Mitsubishi Huntaway, a one-off Fieldays special based on the Triton VRX. No doubt Peugeot will produce something similar for agricultural-themed events once it delivers its own ute.
Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato has made it clear such a workhorse is vital to the company’s plans expand its global reach, including a full-scale return to the African market.
“With a one-tonne pick-up truck, we can tap into a huge global market,” Imparato told British magazine Autocar. “We could either develop one within the group or with a partner and our existing connections.”
Peugeot (and Citroen) parent the PSA Group collaborate with Toyota on a number of commercials vehicles for the European market.
Their relationship would give Peugeot plenty of time to develop its own version of the Toyota Hilux, as the current model is only two years in to its product cycle.
It would help Peugeot compete with vehicles like the Renault Alaskan (above) and Fiat Fullback (below), which are based on the Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton respectively. The upcoming Mercedes-Benz ute is also based on the Navara.
Once, Peugeot might have based a ute on a Mitsubishi Triton, given that it shared passenger car and SUV platforms with the Japanese company.
That agreement wound down last year when the Nissan Renault Alliance bought a 34 per cent stake in Mitsubishi.
In doing so, Nissan Renault effectively rescued Mitsubishi from going deeper into the financial doo-doo, the result of exaggerated fuel economy claims by Mitsubishi for its tiny Kei cars, many of which were rebadged by Nissan in Japan.
The Nissan/Renault bailout Nissan/Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn is also the chairman of the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. The next-generation Triton will almost certainly be based on the next-generation Navara platform. A new Pajero would likely share its underpinnings with a Patrol.
Meantime, the Mitsubishi Triton-based Huntaway is a concept of sorts, a Fieldays show special with leather upholstery that is for sale but won’t be offered by Mitsubishi again.
Huntaway – a salute to the breed of farm dogs – is 100mm taller than the standard VRX, comes with a lift kit, 20-inch wheels, 35-inch Atturo Trail Blade M/T tyres, Brembo brakes up front, front protection bar, roof and front-mounted Narva light bars, plus a Rhino Rack Pioneer roof tray and personalised decal.
As usual, utes of all shapes and sizes will be highlighted at Fieldays. In a Downunder first – but not on show at Fieldays – Queensland company Performax International is converting to right-hand drive the American-sourced Nissan Titan.
The pick-up (above) is powered by a 5.0-litre V8 turbo-diesel delivering 235kW/725Nm to an on-demand four-wheel-drive system via an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission.
Payload is 900kg and braked towing capacity is 5200kg. Prices for the three variants in Australia starts at A$105,000 for the single-cab, through to A$139,000 for the crew-cab with Bilstein suspension.