June 4, 2002, Beijing, PRC / Tokyo, Japan - Beijing Jeep Corporation (BJC) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced today the signing of a technical licensing agreement for the manufacture of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport at the BJC facility in Beijing. Production of the sport-utility vehicle is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2003.
Last week, DaimlerChrysler and Beijing Automotive Industry (Group) Company announced for a new 30-year contract for the BJC joint venture, pending Chinese Government ratification. BJC became China's first automotive joint venture when it was established in May 1983.
The technical licensing agreement between BJC and MMC covers the full set of documentation and patents for the production of the new model. It also demonstrates the continued realization of global synergies between DaimlerChrysler's alliance partners. The new model will improve the plant's production capacity utilization, and expand product offerings to include the Mitsubishi brand.
Already a well-known product worldwide with strong sales in Europe and the United States, the Pajero Sport will be the first locally manufactured product of MMC ever branded under its name in China. With local production, MMC will be able to react faster to the demands of the Chinese market, as well as upgrade its parts supply and inventory control.
" Pajero Sport is the first tangible result from the DaimlerChrysler-Mitsubishi Motors alliance in China. Under the umbrella of the DaimlerChrysler family, BJC will be able to offer an even broader portfolio of suitable products for the Chinese market. This will also create greater chances for BJC to regain its competitive edge and resume profitability, " said Chairman An Qingheng, Chairman of the Board of BJC.
"This is an important initiative for MMC. We see this agreement with BJC as a key step in our over all China strategy and the first project of what we believe will be a long partnership," said MMC Senior Vice President Steve Torok.
The Pajero Sport represents the latest generation in MMC's sport-utility lineup. Three models are available and there are both two-and four-wheel drive versions. They are powered by a 2.9272-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine with CPU controlled injection, and a 2.351-liter 4-cylinder engine. Both engines provide strong off-road capability. Rated at 123 kw and 251N-M to meet Euro II emission standards, the Pajero Sport is equipped with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
Pajero Sport's safety features include dual air bags for the front seats, a collapsible steering column, and a side-extruded bar to maximize the protection of the vehicle's occupants. Optional anti-lock brakes are also available.
Pajero Sport offers rugged off-road capabilities for all weather conditions. The multi-beam ladder-shaped frame ensures body strength and reliability, even in the most difficult off-road driving conditions.
In addition, Beijing Jeep Corporation and MMC have jointly engineered the Pajero Sport to meet the demands of everyday driving in China. Over 100 improvements have been made, all of which have helped the vehicle pass China's stringent road tests.
The Pajero Sport will be available in the Chinese market beginning in December 2002 as a BU model exported from Japan. Production of the model will begin at the BJC facility in the first quarter of next year.
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