Wed, May 21, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Mitsubishi Motor to reach goal in China, Taiwan by 2007

BLOOMBERG , TOKYO

Mitsubishi Motors Corp, 37 percent owned by DaimlerChrysler AG, said it expects annual sales in China and Taiwan to reach 400,000 units by 2007 as the company taps demand in the world's fastest-growing auto market.

Mitsubishi Motors is expanding its operations in China, where it sold 70,000 vehicles last year.

The company has started making its Pajero Sport sport-utility vehicle at the Beijing Jeep Corp venture of its largest shareholder, DaimlerChrysler. Mitsubishi will also begin making its Outlander sport utility at the plant next year.

Mitsubishi Motors, which had record net income of Japanese Yen 38 billion (US$325 million) in the year ended March 31, is trying to reduce its dependence on the US, its most profitable market, by capitalizing on growing demand in China and other markets in Asia.

The Japanese automaker may reach its goal of selling 300,000 vehicles in China earlier than its 2007 target, said Steve Torok, vice president in charge of non-Japanese sales, last month.

The company said it expects China to be one of the top three auto markets by 2005, with total unit sales exceeding 4 million by 2005 and 5.5 million by 2010.

Mitsubishi Motors said it will sell 130,000 cars and trucks in China this year. The company is teaming up with DaimlerChrysler and plans to triple the number of joint dealerships to 120 by 2005 to raise sales in that market.

It aims to become the biggest seller of sports-utilities in China by 2010 and the third-biggest seller of all types of vehicles by the same date, the company said.

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