Mitsubishi calls French politician a retard

News of the World: Mitsubishi boss calls French politician a retard; Suzuki gives up on America; and Maserati prepares new Quattroporte, SUV and return of the Ghibli.

Obama is in but Suzuki is out

America: Suzuki Motor Company has announced that its US subsidiary will file for bankruptcy and shut down its automobile retail business. Suzuki cited unfavourable foreign exchange rates, low sales and a limited model portfolio as the reasons for its decision – two of those three sound self-inflicted to us.

Suzuki has sold 21,000 new cars in America YTD; that’s barely ahead of the brand’s Australian performance (20,102). But where Suzuki Australia is 11th and rising, Suzuki America is down the bottom end fighting mainstream titans Saab and smart for the wooden spoon. Suzuki Motor Co. says it will continue to sell motorbikes and all-terrain vehicles in America.

Mitsubishi boss calls politician a retard

France: The boss of Mitsubishi’s French dealer network has stepped down for personal reasons the day after publically condemning France’s industrial recovery minister Arnaud Montebourg (pictured left) as a mental case and a retard. Jean Claude Debard (right) made the comments after the French government announced a $9 billion bailout package for ailing carmaker Peugeot-Citroen.

At a media drive day in the south of France last week Jean-Claude Debard told journalists, “This mental case, this retard, increases ecological taxes, reduces the speed motorists can go on Paris’ ring road and ruins the life of motorists from all social origins. All suffer as a result of him”.

“He is stupid and understands nothing, you can quote me on that,” he said. Mitsubishi Japan has since apologised for the remarks, labelling them “discourteous”.

Ghibli returns, new Quattroporte and Maserati SUV

Italy: Maserati will launch an all-new Quattroporte luxury sedan, add a smaller 5 Series rival and an SUV to its range as it chases an eight-fold increase in global sales in the next three years.

The sixth-generation Quattroporte will be revealed at the Detroit auto show in January. It sits on a lighter steel monocoque chassis with a longer wheelbase to increase rear seat room, a common criticism with the current car. Kerb weight could drop by as much as 75kg from current levels.

Speculation surrounds drivetrains for the sixth-generation Quattroporte, with some outlets reporting a 390kW Ferrari-sourced V8, others say Maserati is pursuing forced induction to achieve both power and economy gains.

Maserati is also considering an all-wheel drive option for the Quattroporte, a potential no-brainer if Maserati's plans to build an SUV called Levante also go ahead. Maserati will replace the current ZF-sourced 6-speed automatic with the latest 8-speeder from the same supplier.

The Quattroporte will be joined by a smaller 5 Series rival built off the same platform but with a smaller wheelbase. It could revive the Ghibli nameplate last worn by a two-door coupe which was axed in 1997.

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.

Want free access to 5 years of Wheels archive content? Sign up now!