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Japanese carmaker looks to add 20 dealers

The hunt is on for more dealers to help Mitsubishi achieve the dramatic growth it is seeking in Britain.

Another 20 outlets need to be added to the Japanese brand’s 130-strong retail network for annual volume to reach a planned target of 40,000 units, Mitsubishi Motors Europe chairman Tim Tozer told AM.

"We have a lot of work to do for the future but this is our number one priority – we urgently need to fill open points and many of them are in key areas. Getting this right forms a crucial part of our ambitions.

"We had to fight for survival after the Daimler-Chrysler withdrawal three years ago but we’ve made it. Many thought we would fail, but we have survived and are now in the process of rebuilding our business in several western European markets.

"In the UK, sales were 30,600 last year, 14 per cent down on 2006, but I’m confident that the Lancer Sportback model we introduce in September will take us ahead. We will do even better with the i-EV electric family runabout that should arrive soon after it is launched in Japan next year.

"We are serious about delivering major CO2 improvements and with this car, we’re at the leading edge of where the industry is going. Unlike the present crop of electric cars, the i-EV can be charged up at home, is a nippy performer capable of 80mph and has a range of more than 100 miles."

Based on the 'i' minicar platform, the four seater model replaces the conventional rear petrol engine with a lithium-ion battery system, motor and inverter. Its battery can be fully charged overnight on off-peak power but a quick-charge system provides an 80% charge in 30 minutes.

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