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Mitsubishi begins developing next Lancer in-house

The company is already preparing a plan-b if it can\'t find a development partner for the next-generation sedan.

Mitsubishi is already working on in-house development of the next-generation Lancer.

The company has voiced preference for finding a partner to share development costs, however the search for a collaborator has yet to bear fruit.

"We are talking with a potential partner at this time, (but) at the same time we're doing an internal design of the vehicle," Mitsubishi Motors North America executive VP Don Swearingen told WardsAuto. "We're running parallel because we cannot wait any longer to see if a partnership will work out."

COO Tetsuro Aikawa earlier this year dismissed sedans as a low priority for the company. He claimed that a next-generation Lancer would not arrive under his watch, as the automaker shifts its focus to SUVs, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles.

The Renault-Nissan alliance was once named as a potential partner, but Mitsubishi declined to proceed with the initiative due to an unfavorable business case. The latest report suggests Mitsubishi had declined an agreement just with Renault, but is still in talks with Nissan.

Swearingen suggests in-house development will likely delay the redesigned Lancer by a year or more. The executive also cautions that the Lancer Evo's spiritual successor, which is expected to arrive as a hybrid crossover, "is a little further off than people would imagine."

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