It has been a year and a half since Nissan took a controlling stake in Mitsubishi and installed hard-charging British executive Trevor Mann as its chief operating officer. Last October, the new management team presented an interim growth plan that targets increased vehicle sales, revenue and profits as the automaker shifts Mitsubishi models onto platforms used by the Renault-Nissan alliance. Mann is already seeing positive results, he told Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nick Gibbs.
How embedded is Mitsubishi in the Renault-Nissan alliance now?
First and foremost, we have got a job to do on ourselves. We are committed to a three-year midterm growth plan announced last year. That is our responsibility — to return the company to profit with our own efforts, with the assistance of the alliance.
One of your big priorities was to get finances in order. How is that going?
We are completely on track in terms of the midterm plan. We plan to go from about 1 million vehicle sales to 1.3 million globally. We also aim to increase our revenue by 30 percent and return to a 6 percent margin. We are ahead of the profit target [Mitsubishi's margin was 4.5 percent in its 2017 fiscal year, which ended March 31]. We are also ahead of the volume target at 1.1 million [for the 2017 fiscal year]. Overall, I'm quite pleased. We are doing well.
You have stayed profitable, right?
Even though we originally forecast a loss [for the 2016 fiscal year] after the crisis [Mitsubishi was embroiled in a mileage manipulation scandal], we didn't make a loss for the full year.
Where will the sales growth come from?
The top countries are obvious: China and the U.S. In China we grew 44 percent in the fiscal year to the end of March, 8 percent in the U.S. and 8 percent in Europe, including Russia. We have also grown 33 percent in ASEAN countries [including Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines].