Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said today it would start selling its latest diesel engine in Europe a year earlier than planned, as it attempts to capitalize on the region's strong demand for fuel-efficient technology.
Sales of diesel engines have surged in recent years, as consumers have been drawn by their superior gas mileage. The engines now power about half of Europe's new cars.
Mitsubishi said in a statement it would begin selling its next-generation 2.0-liter diesel engine in Europe in 2009, a year earlier than it had planned.
The engine, which is being developed together with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., will meet the stricter emissions standards that are due to go into effect in Europe in 2009, the automaker said.
The engines will be eventually introduced in other markets, following the European release, the company said.
Mitsubishi Motors spokesman Kai Inada said the company was aiming for an annual production of 100,000 engines.
Inada declined to comment on the size of investment related to the engine, although a domestic media report said the company would spend $76.3 million (9 billion yen) to improve its production system.
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