'Carisma production will come to an end to make way for the new DaimlerChrysler group small car range. But it would be wrong to think the change means an end to our ambitions in the fleet market,' he said. 'The opposite scenario is nearer the truth. We have a portfolio of new cars we that can be introduced to take over from the Carisma.
'We're looking at the possibility of starting the process with the Japanese market Cedia - the car that forms the basis of our Lancer Evolution model. Far from beating a retreat, our aim is to grow our sales to business buyers.'
His comments came at the end of a tumultuous 48-hour period during which Mitsubishi announced drastic measures to restore profitable trading as an alliance partner with DaimlerChrysler. The troubled company said it was closing one of its factories in Japan, cutting its workforce by 9,500, introducing a new organisational structure and aiming to trim material costs by 15%. But it also bought out Volvo's share in NedCar, the Dutch car plant it has been operating with the Swedish firm on a joint basis to build the Carisma, Space Star and Volvo S and V40 ranges.