EXCLUSIVE: BRAZIL: Mitsubishi launches locally-made Pajero Sport
Mitsubishi's Brazilian importer MMC Automotores has introduced the locally-made Pajero (Shogun/Montero/Challenger) Sport SUV - the third Mitsubishi model made in the company's plant in Catalão city, Goiás state.

The vehicle is already familiar to Brazilians because, until last year, MMC Automotores imported the Pajero Sport fully assembled from Japan.

Local assembly has brought some design changes - the latest SUV has exclusive front bumper, bonnet, grille and headlights and a new bumper, lights and tailgate at the back.

Launch models have a 200hp 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine but a diesel version will be launched in the second half of the year.

To produce the Pajero Sport in Brazil, MMC Automotores invested about $US38m. The model is assembled using engine, transmission and 4x4 system imported from Japan.

The company has started production at the rate of of 200 units per month, but expects to hit 400 units by the end of this year. In this market, the Pajero Sport competes with the locally-made Nissan Xterra and Chevrolet Blazer and the Argentinean-built Toyota Hilux SW4.

MMC Automotores holds a technology transfer agreement with the Japanese automaker. The Brazilian company opened its Catalão plant in 1998 to build the L200 pick-up. It now makes two previous-generation versions of the L200 and also the small Pajero TR4 SUV (known in Europe as the Shogun Pinin and in Japan as the Pajero Io). Both models also have had design changes exclusive to Brazil.

Rogério Louro