Mitsubishi confirms summer launch for CarPlay and Android Auto (in Europe)

Mitsubishi is the latest carmaker to confirm specific plans for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although U.S. consumers are still in the dark.

The company announced that it will launch both products on the 2016 Pajero SUV in Europe this summer, but didn’t discuss any target dates for a U.S. launch.

The Pajero, of course, is the full-size SUV known as the Montero in the U.S. While it hasn’t been sold here in years, the truck has become something of a cult classic, and Mitsubishi has strongly hinted that a new version is on the way.

Mitsubishi still sells the last-generation Montero in Europe with the Pajero name, and while its press release did not specifically mention an all-new model, that seems like a possibility at the very least.

CarPlay and Android Auto require an up-to-date infotainment architecture, something the older model likely doesn’t possess. A recent report said a new model is under development, but that it wouldn’t arrive until 2017.

Mitsubishi has also been teasing the public with the Concept GC-PHEV, a plug-in hybrid SUV concept that’s been making the auto-show rounds. The production Montero will likely borrow the concept’s styling, and possibly some aspects of its plug-in powertrain.

Regardless of what the European 2016 Pajero turns out to be, though, it may not be long before CarPlay and Android Auto become available on Mitsubishi models in the U.S.

Mitsubishi says it will gradually expand the number of models with CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the regions where it is available.

The carmaker was discussed by Apple as a supporter of CarPlay as far back as the initial announcement of the system at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, although its association with Google and Android Auto is more recent.

Mitsubishi certainly isn’t the first company to sign on for both systems. General Motors, Hyundai, and Volvo are among those that are already playing both sides.

CarPlay and Android Auto add a layer of brand-specific functions to existing infotainment systems, so there’s no technical reason why carmakers should have to choose one or the other.

Going with both the Apple and Google options opens up a wider range of potential tech-oriented customers, who view their brand of smartphone operating system and brand of car as of roughly equal importance.

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