Mitsubishi aims to beat profitability forecast by ending N.A., Japan losses

TOKYO (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 Monday 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 automaker expects net income of 100 billion yen ($975.9 million) in the year ending March, a second straight year of record profit.