Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Inc., officially opened its first 18 dealerships across Canada today. According to the company, this is six months ahead of schedule. The dealerships are offering seven vehicles. “We are offering Canadians a full line of vehicles–not just testing the market,” said Pierre Gagnon, president and chief executive officer, Mitsubishi Motors America, Inc. “We now offer consumers across the continent a Mitsubishi that meets their tastes and budgets, positioning us to capture 2 per cent of the new vehicle market in Canada by 2007.” Originally scheduled to start retailing vehicles in Canada in February 2003 with 51 dealers selected by the end of the first full year of business, MMSCAN is ahead of target having already selected 53 dealers — 18 open today, a total of 47 open by the end of the 2002. Leveraging its industry leading order-to-delivery distribution system and retail image program, MMSCAN vehicles will be sold exclusively through independently owned and operated dealerships. It is anticipated that dealer spending will be $1.6 billion resulting in an anticipated 6,400 new dealership jobs over the next five years. “We offer the cars that Canadians want,” said Greg O’Neill, president and chief operating officer, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America. “In addition to seven models offered this month, three more new products will join the Canadian lineup within the next 12 months.” Mitsubishi Motors plans to introduce one new vehicle every year for the next five years. It is the fastest growing Japanese automotive company in the US based on sales, with a 69 per cent sales increase over the last three years. July 2002 marked Mitsubishi Motors best US sales month in history with 33,393 units sold, a 46.3 per cent gain over sales in July 2001. “During our first full year of sales, we anticipate selling 20,000 vehicles and 5,000 from today to December 2002,” said Randy Sears, president, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Inc. “There’s already a tremendous buzz for our products — consumers know who we are and are coming to our dealerships to buy our stylish, and spirited products,” said Sears. “The moment our vehicles hit the dealership lots, sales were generated before we opened for business last week.” Mitsubishi attracts more youthful customers than competitors with 41.6 per cent of Mitsubishi customers under the age of 35. Its all-time brand awareness is built by the product offering including the compact, value-driven Lancer; stylish and sporty, Eclipse Coupe; spirited Eclipse Spyder convertible; rugged Montero and Montero Sport; cross-over compact SUV Outlander; and the Galant sedan.