Mitsubishi Motors Corp., plans to introduce eight hybrid and battery-powered models by 2015 as demand for fuel-efficient automobiles grows and the company plans rapid expansion, the automaker said at a press conference to announce its mid-term business plan.
Mitsubishi currently manufactures the i-MiEV EV, which began European deliveries on Tuesday, and the Peugeot iOn and Citreon C-Zero EVs for the French automaker PSA/Peugeot-Citreon SA.
In March Mitsubishi abandoned talks with PSA over a possible capital tie-up that many believed could secure a more stable future for the carmakers.
Mitsubishi cited bad timing coming in the wake of a global economic crisis as the reason the deal failed.
Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko has said the automaker would aim instead to strengthen its financial standing by boosting sales -- a stance he maintained on Thursday. That would be done partly through operational alliances such as the supply deals Mitsubishi has with PSA and Nissan Motor Co.
Global sales drive
Mitsubishi aims to increase annual global sales by 37 percent to 1.37 million vehicles by fiscal 2013 or 2014, the company said today in a statement outlining its mid-term business plan. The automaker has struggled to come back from a sharp global sales slide, most notably in the U.S., where its factory in Normal, Illinois, is severely underused.
The automaker plans to increase the proportion of its overseas production to 54 percent of total output by fiscal 2013, from about 44 percent currently, it said. Japanese carmakers including Mitsubishi and Toyota Motor Corp. are moving output overseas as a strong yen makes it more difficult to export vehicles at a profit.
Under the growth plan, Mitsubishi said it would aim to double its operating profit to 90 billion yen on sales of 2.5 trillion yen and triple its net profit to 45 billion ($548 million) yen by 2013/14
To reach these targets, the company said it would aim to cut procurement costs by 90 billion yen by 2013/14, including by buying more components outside Japan to counter currency headwinds. It would also cut down the number of vehicle platforms from 12 to 6 by 2015/16.
The company said that volume growth will be driven by China, Southeast Asia, Russia and Brazil, where Mitsubishi expects the upcoming "Global Small" car and other models to account for a 280,000-unit sales rise in emerging markets over the next three years. It also expects a 90,000-unit increase in sales in mature markets.
"We will aim to boost sales with globally competitive vehicles such as compact models that meet the needs of the middle class in emerging markets, as well as SUVs that appeal to customers across many regions, including mature markets," Masuko said on Thursday.
Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report