Seven seat Pajero Sport imminent for NZ

Pajero Sport fans chasing extra pews will have that wish granted in August.

TWO more seats are coming to the Pajero Sport sports utility wagon in August, Mitsubishi has confirmed today.

The Porirua-domiciled distributor further says its intention is to replace the current five-chair XLS and VRX editions with versions that place three rows of seats.

The changeover adds a $3000 premium to the current cars’ pricing, which presently stands at $58,990 for the XLS and $63,990 for the VRX.

The extra outlay pays for more than a set of chairs in the boot. The seven-seater also adopts rear-controlled air conditioning. The side airbag system has also been re-engineered to take the rearmost seats into account.

Otherwise trim levels are identical to what is now being offered.

Daniel Cook, head of sales and marketing strategy for Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand, is confident the replacement, fully family-sorted models will enhance the strong start to sales that the five-seater has achieved in its relatively short stay here.

While the five-chair Pajero Sport has been doing well, industry data shows that large SUVs with seven seats achieve the strongest volume.

He said the price increase will still maintain Pajero Sport’s status as the cheapest offer in the re-energised ute-derived wagon sector, by some margin.

“A price increase by $3,000 … will still see us miles below the rest.”

The seven seater is likely to achieve a 30 percent spurt in sales volume, which has already been running above expectation, with 65 units sold in the first full month.

“Sales have been strong and only this month do we have enough stock to meet demand, so it will be interesting to see how we go,” Cook said today.

While the five-seater had been doing a great job, MMNZ felt the best policy was to simply replace each version with a seven-seat derivative, rather than continue the two lines side-by-side.

MMNZ’s dealers have recently been briefed about the update and are set to take customer orders from this month.

First examples are set to land in early August, with supply continuing from the same plant in Thailand that also provides Triton utes to this market.

Cook identified that a global spike in demand for the ute and its wagon spin-off has affected sales of both in New Zealand.

“We’ve had limited stock of Pajero Sport … though the factory has now caught up with demand.”

Latterly, sales rates for the models have been strong, ahead of rivals when rentals were excluded from monthly counts.

MMNZ expects its Triton penetration will ramp up considerably this month and next, due to the impact of a special edition Charger-X derivative whose introduction has been timed with the Field Days at Mystery Creek.

New Zealand’s largest rural commercial event begins on June 15.

While the derivative’s arrival was also slightly delayed by production pressures in Thailand, already some 58 units out of the 300 examples assigned here have been sold.

“We are happy with (this) as our stock arrived later than initially expected, at the end of May.”