Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all of you to the Mitsubishi exhibition here at the 2008 Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS).

I am sure you will agree that Mitsubishi Motors is all about adventure, whether it is in daily routines or on rugged off-road conditions. Our brand is committed to providing the utmost driving pleasure and safety for our valued customers. These are commitments we will never compromise.

Mitsubishi Johannesburg Auto Show 2008

For that reason, we at Mitsubishi Motors are geared up to fulfil the needs of current and prospective customers with the roll-out of our comprehensive product line-up, some on show here today.

These products are distributed through a well-positioned Mitsubishi dealer network to enhance our position as a trusted and reliable brand in both the passenger car and bakkie segments.

Many people have become accustomed to our brands through renowned motor sporting events such as the Dakar Rally and our very own Spirit of Africa Trophy.

For Mitsubishi, Dakar is the testing grounds and proof of engineering and technical supremacy.  All Mitsubishi products – the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, the Mitsubishi Pajero, the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Mitsubishi LCVs/Bakkies – benefit enormously from constant testing and re-engineering.

Ladies and Gentlemen: we are delighted to reveal at this year’s JIMS some very exciting products, which have been introduced over the last two years, as well as two new “preview” products. The Pajero is rugged, distinctive and robust on the outside, sophisticated and opulent on the inside and nothing on or off the road quite matches the Pajero for all out driver satisfaction. The new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport promises all and more.

The new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 3.2-litre diesel GLS, is a pedigree in Mitsubishi’s SUV segment and features dynamic and sporty exterior lines, complemented by a stylish and vast interior space that engenders a sense of comfort, purpose and safety.

Produced in Thailand, this dynamic vehicle has a 4-speed automatic gearbox with a turbocharged Di-DC engine that powers up to 120kW and 343Nm. The Pajero Sport also boasts innovations such as the Super Select II 4×4 system. Safety is paramount in all the Mitsubishi models and I am pleased to tell you that the Pajero Sport also features Mitsubishi’s Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE), ABS and EBD, as well as driver and passenger airbags. The Pajero Sport will undoubtedly set new standards in the SUV.

Also on display in the Lancer range is the constant variable transmission (CVT). This relatively new Lancer is an evolution of driving technology – and a short stint behind the wheel will quickly convince any hard-bitten performance “enthusiast” that the new Lancer CVT has what it takes and a whole lot more. The CVT has the unique DOHC MIVEC variable valve timing system – which provide even better standards of drive-ability and performance that the others in the segment just can’t match. The Lancer CVT is available at a price that brings yet another new dimension to exciting, value-added performance motoring.

In the bakkies segment, we recently unveiled the locally assembled Mitsubishi Triton Double Cab and Club Cab. Since the international launch in Japan in 2005 and in South Africa in March 2007, the Mitsubishi Triton Double Cab has received a number of accolades.

With just a year and a half on the market, the Triton diesel Double Cab has put in a stellar performance in the most recent Synovate Competitive Customer Satisfaction PP100 Report, emerging as the most trouble-free vehicle in its category.

In addition, the Triton Double Cab outperformed its competitors in the Euro NCAP’s first tests of ‘pick-up’ vehicles earlier this year. This safety rating, together with the exceptional quality standards, and Mitsubishi’s outstanding achievement as the manufacturer with the highest service CCSI score, ensure that our customers are not only buying quality vehicles, but also an outstanding dealer experience.

With the number of accolades already behind the Triton Double Cab, its younger sibling – the Triton Club Cab – has some very big shoes to fill and we are very confident that it will do just that!

Also on display is the Mitsubishi Outlander, which is very definitely all-new. From the new welding line at the Mizushima plant where the body is manufactured, to the new all-aluminium engine block from the Shiga engine plant to the aluminium roof, six-speed CVT transmission and Rockford Fosgate sound system, this vehicle has new engineering, superior technology, fresh new design and  superb levels of comfort, which makes it a winner!

Ladies and Gentlemen, as the connection between cars, society and the environment becomes clearer, Mitsubishi stands ready to clear a path to a new era in sustainability measures. At the pinnacle of our environmental technology, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has introduced the zero-emissions i-MiEV electric vehicle, a new-generation solution that will play an important role in putting the brakes on global warming.

Leveraging our years of minicar expertise, we are working to present a super-efficient “Global Small” car. We will develop a next-generation compact SUV that will leapfrog global environmental standards while still delivering the driving pleasure that Mitsubishi is famous for. We will test our new diesel technology in the crucible of rally competition, and forge in our new cars a true synergy between dynamic and environmental performance. We believe that our technology and our passion for driving will help us lead the way to a new future for motoring.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mitsubishi is all about those who want to embark on adventurous driving. We will certainly pass our brand positioning onto all who visit our stand. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to reveal the all-new and very exciting Lancer Evolution Prototype X.

This rally-derived Evo Prototype X is only a preview to the South African market.

Indeed, the Adventure Begins here now!

Thank you for your attention and enjoy JIMS 2008!