The Mitsubishi Lancer Lives! (Sort Of)

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer - Image: MitsubishiAs Mitsubishi prepares to launch a new small crossover, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Mitsubishi’s car lineup continues to shrink.

The Galant died in 2012. The Mitsubishi Lancer, it was revealed earlier this year, will cease existence in the U.S. market later this year. But the Lancer’s American goodbye, via a blacked-out Limited Edition, won’t represent its final North American goodbye.

Mitsubishi Canada still wants the Lancer, the brand’s best-selling model as recently as last year, at least until 2018. And Mitsubishi Canada won’t bid farewell to the Lancer until the car can be given “a uniquely Canadian sendoff.”

We assume this means Tim Hortons’ double-doubles inserted in the cupholders straight from the factory along with a hockey bag in the trunk and a curling broom roof rack.

Automotive News Canada reports Lancers will continue to find their way into Canada until the first quarter of next year, at a minimum.

The Lancer is undeniably an important vehicle in Mitsubishi’s Canadian showrooms. While Mitsubishi’s U.S. volume is 72-percent lower now than it was 15 years ago, Mitsubishi Canada doubled its sales between 2005 and 2011, climbed to record highs in 2014, and all but sustained that record level in 2015 and 2016. The Lancer deserves much of the credit.

Three out of every ten Mitsubishis sold in Canada last year were Lancers, as sales of the top-selling model in the lineup rose 9 percent despite Canada’s slumping passenger car volume. While the Lancer was America’s 79th-best-selling car in 2016, it ranked 30th in Canada.

Likewise, compact cars in general are far more consequential in the Canadian marketplace than they are south of the border. Compact cars formed 17 percent of the Canadian auto industry’s volume in 2016; just 12 percent in the U.S.

“Lancer’s size, value equation and warranty resonate strongly among Canadian consumers,” Mitsubishi spokesperson John Arnone told ANC. Unfortunately for Mitsubishi’s Canadian dealers, the size of Canada’s auto industry doesn’t resonate so strongly with decision makers who will allow the Lancer to be killed off.

Mitsubishi touts the upcoming Eclipse Cross and the forever in-waiting Outlander PHEV plug-in as vehicles that will make up for the loss of the brand’s best-selling product.

Mitsubishi isn’t the only automaker in Canada to recently kill off its best-selling product. The Buick Verano, another small sedan supplanted by a small crossover, was GM Canada’s top-selling Buick when it kicked the bucket.

Timothy Cain is the founder of and a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.