August 6, 2014 / 10:32 AM / 3 years ago

Mitsubishi Motors plans new plug-in SUV ahead of EU pollution rules

TOKYO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Motors Corp will launch a second plug-in hybrid SUV in about two years time, its president said on Wednesday, as the Japanese carmaker seeks to capitalise on higher demand for environmentally friendly cars ahead of tough anti-pollution rules planned in Europe in 2020.

Mitsubishi started selling its Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV in January 2013. President Tetsuro Aikawa said the new plug-in, which would be a hybrid version of its smaller RVR model, could be launched as early as the financial year starting April 2016.

The EU pollution rules are spurring more automakers to turn to plug-in hybrids, with German brands Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW developing and unveiling such cars over the last year.

The new rules would set a limit of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km) as an average across all new cars sold in the EU, compared with an existing limit of 130 g/km.

Mitsubishi Motors’ European fleet had average CO2 emissions of 122 g/km in 2012.

Aikawa, 60, a veteran engineer who took over as president in June after the automaker repaid major shareholders for a 2004 bailout, is focusing the company’s efforts on SUVs and pick-ups, as well as electrified powertrain technologies. (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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