* Deal limited to Mexico - Mitsubishi Motors CEO
* Helps boost Mitsubishi's Thai production- CEO
(Adds Mitsubishi Motors CEO quote)
TOKYO, July 1 Chrysler will sell a rebadged
Mitsubishi Motors Corp compact sedan in Mexico, in a
five-year deal that will help the Japanese automaker maintain
production levels at its hard-hit Thailand production base.
The agreement with Chrysler de Mexico, which marks the first
time in decades that Mitsubishi will provide Chrysler with cars
for rebadging, is limited to Mexico and there are no plans for
it to be expanded other countries, Osamu Masuko, CEO of Japan's
sixth-biggest automaker, told reporters.
He said he hoped Chrysler de Mexico would be able to sell at
least 10,000 of the rebadged Attrage sedans a year, adding that
it was likely to be sold under Chrysler's Dodge brand.
Thailand, a production and export hub for Japanese car
makers, has seen domestic car sales plunge after a subsidy for
first-time car buyers ended and as a political crisis drags on.
"Our Thai business has not necessarily gone the way we had
hoped for due to political and economic conditions, but by
sending these vehicles to Mexico, we can maintain production
levels," Masuko said.
He added that Chrysler de Mexico, which has been
distributing Mitsubishi brand cars since 2003, can import
vehicles from Thailand without paying tariffs.
Chrysler is a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Asked about recent media reports that Mitsubishi will supply
Fiat with its pickup truck L200, Masuko said: "There are no
talks like that." Masuko said he has never met Fiat Chrysler's
CEO Sergio Marchionne.
(Reporting by Christopher Gallagher, Teppei Kasai and Yoko
Kubota; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Edwina Gibbs)