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Mitsubishi Plans 1st Dealerships in Canada

Bloomberg News

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said it will begin selling cars and light trucks in Canada at 51 dealerships in 2003 to boost North American sales as demand slows in Japan. Mitsubishi, Japan’s fourth-largest auto maker, said it plans to open 150 Canadian dealerships by 2005 and sell 38,000 new vehicles a year in the country by 2007. It expects to spend $350 million over five years on the expansion. Auto makers sell about 1.5 million new vehicles a year in Canada, the only major automotive market where Mitsubishi doesn’t have dealerships, the company said. Mitsubishi’s U.S. sales rose 20% last year, while demand in Japan fell after the company said it hid defects and recalled about 2.3 million cars. A spokesman said Mitsubishi will sell the same vehicles in Canada it sells in the U.S., including the mid-size Galant sedan and a new compact car called the Lancer. News of the move into Canada comes a day after Mitsubishi said it will cut 9,500 jobs, close a factory in Japan and share platforms with DaimlerChrysler, which owns 34% of the company. *

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