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Mitsubishi, Subaru to Offer Sporty Models to Americans

May 23, 2002

When Coleman Fung heard that one of his dream cars, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII, would finally be available in the United States, the New York resident raced over to the nearest dealership with a $1,000 deposit so that he would be one of the first to get one, according to a Wall Street Journal story by Todd Zaun.The Lancer Evolution is one of several examples of high-performance Japanese sports cars that, until recently, Americans didn't have a prayer of buying, according to the Journal. While Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has been building versions of the rally-inspired sports sedan for years, the company hasn't offered it in the United States. That's because, like other Japanese automakers, Mitsubishi didn't think there was enough demand in the U.S. to justify the expense of reconfiguring them to meet U.S. safety and emissions standards.But in recent months, Japanese carmakers have begun making many of their best hot-rod sedans available to U.S. drivers for the first time.Subaru started the trend when it began selling its 227-horsepower Impreza WRX in the U.S. a year ago, at prices starting at about $24,000, and a Subaru spokesman says the company is considering bringing its brawnier, 260-horsepower WRX STi to the U.S. next year.Mitsubishi plans to introduce the Lancer Evolution VII in the U.S. next spring for what the company says will be "less than $30,000," while Mazda Motor Corp. will begin selling itsRX-8 sports car in the U.S. at about the same time.Further into the future, Nissan Motor Co. may offer American drivers a new version of one of Japan's most-legendary sports cars, the Skyline GTR.
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