Mitsubishi’s British operation, which has been virtually immune from controversy surrounding the company’s £2.35 billion Japanese bail out, is planning to boost sales by 50 per cent within two years.

That was the bullish eve of show view from Jim Tyrrell, Mitsubishi Motors UK’s managing director, who said the brand must restore its ‘core product DNA, through more sports utility vehicles and cars with driving passion, like the Evo Vlll Lancer.’

Tyrrell, head of the independent UK importer since 2000 when the operation lost £10 million, said: ‘There is nothing to be concerned about for customers, our 146 dealers and UK staff.’

He predicted Mitsubishi vehicle sales would climb from this year’s 40,000 units to 60,000 in 2006, including a ‘couple of thousand MPVs’ as the brand’s new Grandis people carrier debuts at The Sunday Times Motor Show Live.

Tyrrell claimed only four customers had phoned to express concern about the parent firm’s financial problems.

He said: ‘We are a very healthy business and among the top four most profitable UK franchises in the UK. We have a raft of new products coming through and we are investing more and more on TV advertising.’

Tyrrell welcomed the ‘revitalisation programme’ which saw Mitsubishi’s keiritsu or affiliated companies launch a £2.35bn rescue package for Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, which is expected to register losses of £2bn for 2003.

It marks the end of a four-year bid to transform Mitsubishi into a profitable operation by DaimlerChrysler, which no longer has a veto over corporate decisions.

Mitsubishi Motors in Japan has been hit by a series of vehicle recall scandals and cover ups, for which its new chairman Yoichiro Okazaki apologised last week, describing the business revival plan as: ‘the last chance of survival.’

Tyrrell pointed out that: ‘Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the group bank have a combined net worth which is six times that of DaimlerChrysler.’

He added: ‘The relationship with Chrysler will generate ten new vehicles over the next four years.

‘We need to do what we do best and that is build and sell larger vehicles with higher prices and profits. Up until the end of April Mitsubishi sold 8,272 cars, up 37 per cent on the same period last year.’

Published : 27/05/04 Author : Melanie Carter

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