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Mitsubishi Motors to Beat Profitability Forecast, President Says

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. CEO Osamu Masuko
Osamu Masuko, and incoming chairman and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., gestures as he speaks during a group interview at the company's headquarters in Tokyo. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Mitsubishi Motors Corp., the maker of i-MiEV electric cars, is seeking to exceed its profitability target by ending losses in Japan and North America, President Osamu Masuko said.

The Japanese carmaker will strengthen domestic sales operations and introduce new plug-in models in North America to surpass the 5.2 percent operating profit margin forecast in its midterm business plan, which ends in March 2017, Masuko told reporters yesterday at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo.

The current target “is too small,” Masuko said. “We want to aim for a higher level.”

Mitsubishi Motors is trying to end operating losses in North America and in Japan. It plans to introduce plug-in versions of its RVR and Pajero SUVs around 2016 and expects electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to make up 20 percent of its output by 2020, Masuko said. The carmaker introduced a plug-in Outlander sport utility vehicle last year.

Mitsubishi Motors is targeting sales to climb to 1.43 million vehicles in the final year of its midterm plan. For the year ending March 2014, the company forecasts deliveries of 1.11 million vehicles on higher sales of SUVs and pickup trucks.

The carmaker expects net income of 100 billion yen in the year ending March, a second straight year of record profit.

Mitsubishi Motors rose 1.4 percent to 1,123 yen at the close of trading in Tokyo. The company gained 27 percent last year, helped by a weaker yen and demand for minicars it jointly developed with Nissan Motor Co. Still, that lagged behind the 51 percent increase in Japan’s Topix index.

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