Mitsubishi Motors, discount retailer tie up on EVs

TOKYO, Nov 9 (BestGrowthStock) – Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi Motors
Corp (7211.T: ) and electronics retailer Bic Camera Inc (3048.T: )
joined hands on Tuesday to promote the spread of electric cars in
Japan, with a view to eventually selling the zero-emission cars
alongside household electronics.

In the first tie-up of its kind in Japan, Bic Camera, one of
the country’s leading discount retailers of consumer electronics
goods, will display Mitsubishi Motors’ i-MiEV electric car in
four of its biggest stores in and around Tokyo, offering test
drives and information on the car to shoppers.

Mitsubishi Motors, which became the first major carmaker to
begin selling battery-powered electric cars last year, is also in
talks to possibly sell electric cars through U.S. electronics
retailer Best Buy Co (BBY.N: ).

“To make sure this new category of cars spreads in the
market, we need to go beyond the boundaries of our industry,”
Mitsubishi Motors President Osamu Masuko told a news conference
at Bic Camera’s flagship store near Tokyo’s upscale Ginza
shopping district.

“Because electric cars have no tailpipe emissions, they could
eventually evolve into something that could be used inside the
house, like household electronic goods,” Masuko said.

He added that Mitsubishi Motors, one of Japan’s smallest
automakers, would be able to attract a wider cross section of
consumers through the tie-up with Bic Camera, which sells goods
ranging from mobile phones to liquor.

Bic Camera President Hiroyuki Miyajima said the discount
retailer would consider spreading the promotional activities to
other outlets around Japan.

Mitsubishi Motors is aiming to produce 9,000 i-MiEV cars in
the business year to next March 31, ramping that up to 40,000 in
the 2012/13 business year. It began exports to Europe last month,
including cars to be supplied under French partner PSA Peugeot
Citroen’s (PEUP.PA: ) brands.

Mitsubishi Motors also said on Tuesday it would unveil the
North American version of the i-MiEV in a world premiere at the
Los Angeles auto show next week. The car is due to go on sale in
North America in autumn 2011.

Shares of Mitsubishi Motors rose 1.0 percent and Bic Camera
gained 0.5 percent on Tuesday morning, outperforming Tokyo’s main
TOPIX index (.TOPX: ), which fell slightly.
(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Michael Watson)

Mitsubishi Motors, discount retailer tie up on EVs