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Battle to retain the Magna name

Flip side: The Magna 4WD flips up at the Sydney motor show to prove all four wheels are moving.

Mitsubishi Australia has a fight on its hands to retain the Magna name

29 Oct 2002

MOMENTS after revealing at the Sydney motor show the latest addition to the Magna range, the all-wheel drive sedan, Mitsubishi Motors Australia president and CEO Tom Phillips confirmed he had a fight on his hands to keep the Magna name for the next generation locally-built car.

He also confirmed the death of the wagon when the new generation vehicle rolls out in short wheelbase form in 2005, followed in 2006 by a long-wheelbase luxury car, both built on the new PS platform.

Mr Phillips made it clear that his preference was to retain Magna, but did not seem all that confident of having his way.

"There is a fair push going on internationally to standardise names and it (Magna) could change because of that," Mr Phillips said.

Alternatives include Diamante - the name for the current Magna in Japan - and the Galant, which will be the name of the new generation car in the US.

"I don't particularly like the name Diamante myself, so I don't want to go there," Mr Phillips said. As for Galant? "Nothing has been decided yet".

"We have just completed quite extensive research on the Magna name and it probably suggests it should stay.

"It keeps a bit of stability there. There has been a lot of talk about Magna but the research we have done is quite enlightening in many ways."So will he fight the world to retain the Magna name? "I think we would probably be over-ruled, as you could imagine, by some of the big volume areas."It is not only Magna that is being affected by the new international naming policy.

Mitsubishi also showed the Outlander compact all-wheel drive at Sydney, but originally had intended to call it by its Japanese name, Airtrek.

Down the track, the Pajero will come in for the same attention. In the US it is the Montero and in the UK it's the Shogun.

And the CZ2 concept car which made its Australian debut in Sydney will go on sale internationally and here with little visual change next year, but it will probably be called Colt rather than Mirage: "What they do there is what we will cop here," Mr Phillips said.

He seemed no more happy about losing the Magna wagon but there appears nothing he can do as the car has simply not been designed.

"There's lots of other wagons coming out within our range that will cover most of the market anyway," he said.

"The Camry doesn't have a wagon now and I think that is the way it will go and these other wagons will take their place."As for the all-wheel drive Magna, Mr Phillips is predicting both domestic and export opportunities for the car, with the US putting its hand up to receive it once the substantial 2003 facelift, codenamed XR, is completed.

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