As Mitsubishi Motors Moves On From Scandal, It Seeks Growth In China And U.S.

Setting ambitious goals for growth in China and the United States as well as a comeback in Japan where has been hobbled by a mileage cheating scandal, Mitsubishi Motors Corp said it plans to boost sales by 30 percent over three years.

Aiming for jump in profitability the Japanese automaker will also ramp up R&D investment and capital spending as well, under the new three-year plan – Mitsubishi’s first since Nissan Motor Co Ltd bought a controlling stake last year in the wake of the scandal.

“This is an aggressive mid-term plan. Our highest priority is to rebuild trust in our company,” Mitsubishi Chief Executive Osamu Masuko told a news conference.

“We must be careful not to become overconfident or careless about our reforms, so as not to derail our recovery,” he said.

Southeast Asia, its top market, where competition from other automakers has been less intense, has for long been the focus of the overseas strategy for Mitsubishi, the smallest of Japan’s major automakers.

It plans to lift sales by more than one-third in the United States and also aims to more than double sales in China, where it has long been a laggard, even while the new plan calls for a 50 percent boost in sales in Southeast Asia.

With a 40 percent climb in Japan, it is seeking a 30 percent increase in annual sales to 1.3 million vehicles all over the world.

Including six models which will either be full model changes or brand new models, Mitsubishi plans to release 11 models over the next three years. It will also launch an electric SUV, and an electric minicar in Japan beyond 2020.

Due to development and procurement efficiencies, over the next three years, the automaker is also targeting cost-savings of more than 100 billion yen ($887.31 million) as part of the alliance that includes Nissan and Renault SA.

The aim of the company reaching an operating margin of 6 percent or more from 0.3 percent currently will also be helped to be achieved by that strategy. more than 600 billion yen over the duration of the plan will be the increase in investment of the company in the areas of capital spending and R&D investment.

Amid fresh revelations of misconduct at other Japanese firms comes Mitsubishi’s efforts to move on from the scandal in which it admitted to falsifying fuel economy data.

Even after revealing the widespread misconduct at its domestic factories, Nissan conducted uncertified vehicle checks as recently as last week, Nissan said on Wednesday. Admittance that data on product quality and client specifications had been falsified by Kobe Steel had been made by the company earlier this month.

Masuko said that Mitsubishi was continuing to investigate parts procured by suppliers which contain materials affected by the issue and added that the tests conducted on bonnets used in its models which comprise aluminum supplied by Kobe Steel had shown no safety issues.

(Adapted from Reuters)

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