Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 27, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Mitsubishi reveals locations of 31 dealerships across Canada
— BySteve Erwin
TORONTO — Mitsubishi Motors has secured 31 dealers to begin selling the company’s cars in Canada this fall, the first major part of the Japanese-based automaker’s expansion into the world’s ninth largest car market.
Mitsubishi, partly owned by German-U.S. auto giant DaimlerChrysler, forecasts selling 20,000 vehicles in its first full year in Canada, and hopes to have a total of 51 dealerships in place for next year.
By comparison, Japan’s two biggest carmakers, Toyota and Honda, sold more than 122,000 and 124,000 cars and light trucks in Canada last year, respectively. However, those sales exclude the companies’ luxury Acura and Lexus divisions.
At Mitsubishi, more ambitious plans have the Japanese carmaker expanding its cross-Canada dealer network to 150 and selling 37,000 vehicles a year by 2007, which the company forecasts would give it two per cent of the Canadian market for new vehicles.
Its dealer network this fall will include three outlets in British Columbia, four in the Prairies, 15 in Ontario, seven in Quebec and two in the Atlantic provinces.
Construction and renovation has already begun on many dealerships and some have received inquiries for advance purchases.
Mitsubishi had intended to start selling vehicles in Canada in early 2003. In February it announced it was accelerating those plans due to “great response’’ from dealer candidates and because it
saw strength in the Canadian market, said Randy Sears, president of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc.
The company’s arrival in Canada — the only major automotive market where Mitsubishi currently does not sell vehicles — comes at a time when the Big Three automakers have been losing market share to import nameplates amid ever-increasing competition.
If it reaches its target of 20,000 vehicles in its first full year of sales, Mitsubishi would be well ahead of overseas-based competitors such as Volvo, Suzuki,
Subaru, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but behind the likes of Ria and Acura.
The seven-vehicle lineup that will be made available this fall in Canada include the Eclipse Coupe, Eclipse Spyder convertible, the mid-size Galant and the compact Lancer, as well as the Montero, Montero Sport, and Outlander sport-utility vehicle models.
The carmaker also said its move into Canada will stimulate more than $1.4 billion in dealership salaries and spending and create an anticipated 6,400 new dealership jobs.Top Sirloin Steak
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