Mitsubishi back in the black

It’s a bit early to be popping champagne corks, but Mitsubishi Motors is on course for its first annual profit since 2003. On Feb. 6, Mitsubishi posted profits of $35 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31. That mightn’t seem much, especially compared with Toyota’s $3.55 billion three month earnings, but its Mitsubishi’s first quarter of positive profits since it began reporting quarterly earnings in 2004. For the full year (which at Mitsubishi ends in March) the company projects a net profit of $66.6 million from sales of $18.6 billion. That’ll be a relief for CEO Osamu Masuko, who took over at Mitsubishi in 2005 after a botched sales campaign in the U.S. and recall scandal at home had left the company as Japan’s only loss-making automaker.