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Mitsubishi designer's vision unveiled

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Spirited cars for spirited people will be the new global message for Mitsubishi Motors. The company wants to draw on its success in North America where it has the youngest buyer profile of any of the Japanese car companies and woo the young market.

"Thirty eight per cent of our buyers are aged under 35 which gives us the youngest average age of any Japanese car maker in the US," said Pierre Gagnon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Mitsubishi Motors Sales of America Inc. For the States, the company will adopt a slogan of "wake up and drive" he said at the Detroit Motor Show this week.

The company has just recorded record sales for the third year running. "One record year might be luck, two a fluke, but three record years in a row means we are really working."

His optimism was backed by Rolf Eckrodt, Chief Operating Officer of Mitsubishi Motors who has just completed his first year in the job.

"We have made a lot of progress with record increases in productivity and quality and the turnround is ahead of schedule. We expect to break even in the financial year ending this March ('02)"

Mitsubishi was establishing a different brand identity for itself within the DaimlerChrysler Alliance, he said, and would be launching 16 new models worldwide in the next two years "with more to come."

The company, under Design Chief Olivier Boulay, has now produced four new concept vehicles in just four months. "These show a clear focus for our new design identity and has been achieved with speed, passion, teamwork and a commitment to deliver."

Mr Boulay, unveiling the all-new SUP cabriolet concept, said that spirit was the driving force for everything his team was doing.

"The front face of the cars is just part of the job to give a really strong image. It is important to give the cars a family likeness by the size and shape of the front badge for example.

"Our design must respect that, but not become a prisoner of it.

"Functionality is the philosophy behind each car and the SUP cabriolet is aimed at young people with high-tech hobbies."

Mr Boulay said that Mitsubishi has a tremendous range of vehicles and his aim was to "refresh it from the bottom up."

The company had in the past been good at creating cars that made people happy and made them dream. He wanted to get back to that "drive and dream" image for Mitsubishi.

The SUP is a four-wheel drive four-seater and is powered by an advanced GDI-ISA hybrid drive train with an electric motor at each rear wheel.

The long roof retracts fully and novel features include door panels which detach to act as carry bags and a built-in shower to clean up after a day on the beach.

Note to Editors:

A picture accompanying this release is available from PA Picture wire. It is also available in the PR Newswire Folder on the PA Bulletin Board and at www.prnewswire.co.uk

SOURCE Mitsubishi Motors



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