Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. plans to enter the Canadian market in September – earlier than its original projection of February 2003, says MMSA President Pierre Gagnon at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Ont.

Additionally, Randy Sears, previously senior vice president of Canadian operations, has been promoted to president of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc.

The auto maker, which projects Canadian sales of 20,000 units in 2003 growing to 37,000 units by 2007, plans to launch with all nine of its North American products through a quick ramp-up.

Gagnon, a Canadian, says Mitsubishi plans to launch in Canada with the 30 dealers it already has selected. The target is 51 dealers within the first year of operation with plans to build up to 150 dealers by 2007. The initial dealers are located in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan.

From 1971 to 1995, Mitsubishi sold products in Canada, but they were badged Chrysler, Dodge and Eagle and sold by the former Chrysler Canada Ltd., as the Japanese carmaker made preparations for its own dealer network. Those plans were cancelled in 1997 due to the company’s poor financial health.

The auto maker also plans a 2003 launch into Mexico as part of an expansion plan linked to Mitsubishi’s global turnaround.