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Mitsubishi Motors Corp. unveiled Monday the new Colt compact as its first model using a platform jointly developed with German-American auto giant DaimlerChrysler AG.

The two carmakers formed a comprehensive alliance in 2000.

“For Mitsubishi Motors, this Colt launch is very important because it symbolizes the change of our company,” said MMC President and Chief Executive Officer Rolf Eckrodt.

The Colt is a key product in revitalizing MMC’s car sales in Japan, he said.

The new model, a revival of MMC’s Colt series made between 1962 and 1972, has engine displacement options of 1,300cc and 1,500cc. It will be put on the market Saturday.

MMC hopes to sell 7,000 a month. The car is priced at between 1.04 million yen and 1.5 million yen.

The carmaker expects the new model to penetrate the growing compact car market in Japan, company officials said. MMC has failed to produce a hit model in that segment in recent years.

To compete with rival manufacturers, MMC offers customers freedom to choose which extra features they want and provides 24-hour customer support free of charge, they said.

MMC plans to use the Colt platform for a compact car in Europe, to be launched in 2004, while DaimlerChrysler also plans to install the platform in its compact model, company officials said.

MMC’s domestic car sales have been sluggish since a scandal over concealment of recall data in 2000. For the 2001 business year, its noncommercial vehicle sales in Japan dropped about 10 percent from the previous year.

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