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Japanese automaker could use Saturn dealerships to almost double its retail network
Oddly, it seems as though Saturn is far more interesting and far more loved as the up-for auction arm of a doomed for bankruptcy company than it ever was as regular old car brand. To date the Penske Automotive Group, automaker Nissan/Renault and investment firm Telesto Ventures have all been cited as potential buyers. Now we can add Mitsubishi to that list.
According to a report in the Detroit News the Japanese automaker is in talks with GM to supply its vehicles to the existing Saturn dealership network. The move would see Mitsu expand its number of dealerships in the U.S. by 380 – up from the current 430 dealerships.
The move seems unlikely as Mitsubishi is suffering in the current economic downturn. In April the company sold just 3,919 vehicle in the U.S., down 55.9 percent from the same month in 2008.
Mitsubishi is, however, eager to gain a larger percentage of the U.S. market and until recently was even engaged in talks with Chrysler to bring a small electric car called the Peapod Mobility to the U.S.
The company does appear to be beefing up it’s product line and rebranding its existing products. Company representatives have made it clear that the i MiEV electric micro-car (pictured above) will come to North America and a coupe version of the car has been explored in concept form. Additionally, Mitsu recently launched the Sportback version of the Lancer. As far as rebranding, the company is finally picking up on the success of the Lancer and Evo models and is giving that look to the rest of its line. We’ve already seen it with the 2009 Eclipse and the next generation Outlander promises to have an Evo-style nose.
[Source: Detroit News]