• Kyodo

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Mitsubishi Motors America Inc., the U.S. arm of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., said Tuesday that MMC plans to sell 600,000 vehicles on the North American market in 2007, a 60 percent increase over this year’s anticipated figure.

This aggressive marketing plan was unveiled by Pierre Gagnon, president of Mitsubishi Motors America.

Under the plan, the Japanese automaker will consolidate its sales, manufacturing and research and development operations in North America into a single entity, Mitsubishi Motors North America, on Jan. 1.

MMC plans to launch seven new vehicles by 2005, including the Outlander sport utility vehicle, the Lancer Evolution and Lancer Sportback sedans, the Galant sedan, and the Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder sports cars.

MMC is also scheduled to start selling cars in Mexico in early 2003 on the strength of its alliance with Germany’s DaimlerChrysler AG, which owns 37.3 percent of the Tokyo-based automaker.

MMC currently operates an automobile plant in Illinois. It plans to expand its North American production capability in the future.

Automobile sales in the U.S. have slowed recently as personal consumption loses momentum.

Other Japanese automakers are also looking to expand their North American footprint, with Toyota Motor Corp. planning to open one more U.S. plant in an undisclosed southern state.

Ghosn staying put

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co., said Tuesday he will continue to serve as the automaker’s CEO in order to maintain its rehabilitation process.

“I am not switching jobs,” Ghosn said at a news conference after a business meeting in Washington. “I think that we are in the midst of a revival of the company.”

Having pulled Nissan from the brink of collapse and back into the black within a period of two years, Ghosn rejected any perceptions of him as just an aggressive cost-cutter.

He said he is now trying to reinvent the company and demonstrate its growth potential.

Ghosn joined Nissan as chief operating officer in June 1999 from Renault SA of France. He has concurrently served as Nissan president and CEO since June 2001.

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