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Mitsubishi Motors Soars on Nikkei Minicars Report: Tokyo Mover

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. rose the most in more than four years in Tokyo trading after the Nikkei newspaper reported Nissan Motor Co. will sell jointly made minicars and buy fewer of them from Suzuki Motor Corp.

Mitsubishi Motors soared 21 percent to 125 yen, the biggest gain since October 2008. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Average rose 0.6 percent.

Nissan will start sales in June of its own minicars jointly developed with Mitsubishi Motors, the Nikkei reported today, without saying where it got the information. Minicars, vehicles with engine capacity of no more than 0.66 liters, accounted for 37 percent of auto sales in Japan last year, according to Japan Automotive Dealers Association. Suzuki made more than 70 percent of the minicars sold by Nissan last year, according to the Nikkei report.

“Investors are taking this news as a positive indication that their profit will rise in Japan, where minicars have a big market,” said Satoru Takada, a Tokyo-based auto analyst at Toward the Infinite World Inc., said today by phone.

Nissan spokesman Chris Keeffe declined to comment on the Nikkei report. Mitsubishi Motors spokeswoman Namie Koketsu and Hideki Taguchi, a spokesman for Suzuki, said their companies were not the source of the information in the Nikkei report.

Suzuki dropped 1.6 percent as of 2:30 p.m., the only carmaker to decline today.

Nissan and Mitsubishi established a 50-50 joint venture in 2011 to develop minicars for the Japanese market.

Mitsubishi also benefited from a weakening yen, Takada said. The yen has depreciated for a record 12 consecutive weeks versus the dollar and eight weeks against the euro.

“The stock appears very cheap compared with Mazda and Fuji Heavy and is attractive to bargain hunters,” Takada said.

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