Mitsubishi Motors sets ambitious goals as revival campaign enters final lap

Wed Nov 6, 2013 1:50am EST
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By Yoko Kubota

TOKYO (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T: Quote) laid out plans to boost production and profit by about one-third over three years with a focus on emerging markets as it turns the page on a decade-long revival campaign.

The second-tier Japanese automaker also said it would offer new shares to raise up to $2.1 billion to repay other Mitsubishi companies that funded a 2004 bailout after a recall cover-up scandal and the unraveling of its alliance with DaimlerChrysler.

"We will no longer be a company under reconstruction but, rather, a normal company," Mitsubishi Motors President Osamu Masuko told a news conference on Wednesday.

Shares in the company ended up 0.6 percent at 1,114, compared with Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei average .N225 which closed up 0.8 percent.

The announcement came just a day after the maker of Triton pickup trucks and the Outlander Sport SUV unveiled a potentially wide-ranging operating alliance with Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote) and Renault SA RENA.SA.

Mitsubishi Motors, which had been one of the few smaller carmakers in Japan without a big global partner, will be able to share development and manufacturing costs with its allies while Nissan will gain greater access to Mitsubishi's microcar plants.

Mitsubishi Motors, which was early to bring a small electric car to market with the i-MiEV, aims for electric vehicles to account for 20 percent of its production by 2020, but development costs pose a particularly heavy burden for smaller players.

The company said on Wednesday it aims to boost operating profit to a record 135 billion yen ($1.37 billion) by the year to March 2017, from its target of 100 billion yen this financial year. On a net basis it has already targeted a record 70 billion yen profit this year.   Continued...

Mitsubishi Motors Corp's vehicles are seen at the company headquarters in Tokyo November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato