Mitsubishi Motors is the automobile division of the massive Mitsubishi conglomerate, one of Japan's biggest business houses having a network of around 185 separate interlocking organisations, comprising about 700 companies in all.
Mitsubishi Motors is also Japan's fourth largest car manufacturer (behind Toyota, Nissan and Honda). However, despite the Mitsubishi conglomerate's industrial prowess, the car company has always lagged behind its domestic rivals - both in the domestic and in the international market. Hoping to rectify this in 2000 Mitsubishi handed over 37 per cent of its shareholding to DaimlerChrysler, the German auto major.
In India, in 1995, Hindustan Motors (one of India's biggest business houses) entered into a technical collaboration with Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, Japan. The collaboration was for the latter to provide technical assistance to the former for the manufacture of Mitsubishi-Lancer car.
In 1997 the Indian company entered into a tie-up with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation for manufacturing 20,000 Mitsubishi Lancer passenger sedan cars annually at Chennai. In 1998, Hindustan Motors launched the SFX and SLX variants of the Lancer model in a bid to strengthen its presence in the high-end car market.
Hindustan Motor now manufactures the Lancer in its Chennai facility under a licence from Mitsubishi Motors, Japan. The collaboration has been extremely successful going by the fact that in March 2002, HM/Mitsubishi bagged the top slot in the Sales Satisfaction Index Study 2002 conducted by JD Power Asia-Pacific for India.
The survey, in its third year, determines customer satisfaction with the new vehicle sales and delivery process in India based on six factors: sales experience, explanation at delivery, price evaluation, delivery timing, salesperson knowledge and post-delivery contact.
As against the previous year's study done by JD Power the majority of makes covered in the 2002 study recorded a decline in sales experience - the factor providing the greatest contribution to overall sales satisfaction, said a JD Power Asia- Pacific spokesperson. HM/Mitsubishi's top ranking is due primarily to its ability to maintain performance on this crucial factor.
In March 2002, HM decided to import the extremely popular sports utility vehicle Pajero into India. Realising the fact that there are already over 500 Pajeros running on Indian roads, the company felt that there was a huge potential for this vehicle to sell in India as the SUV market is growing rapidly with the increasing level of maturity of the Indian automobile industry.
Initially the Pajero was to be imported as completely-built-units and sold in select dealerships in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi and Chandigarh. On a later date HM plans to produce the lower-end 2800cc diesel engine version of the vehicle at Rs 20-25 lakh from September-October 2002, importing completely knocked-down units.
The vehicle would be assembled at HM's Thiruvallur (Tamil Nadu) plant where it currently produces Mitsubishi's mid-size car Lancer.
Mitsubishi Motors Ltd
Kadambathur - 631 203
Tel: 04116 61400 / 62743 / 61246
Fax: 04116 62529