Mitsubishi outlines rebound and counts on SUVs and EVs image

In a strive to boost global sales 29 % from this year’s forecast, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will refocus its lineup on utility vehicles and electrified drivetrains and lean heavily on emerging markets under a new three-year business plan.

For the US, the company targets a 36 percent sales increase to 150,000 units in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, and will boost exports of its Outlander Sport compact crossover from its Normal, Illinois, factory, its only assembly plant in the region.

In Europe, the Japanese company aims to lift sales by a third to 160,000 units in that time frame, from the 120,000 units it expects to sell in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.

The business plan also aims to raise money through selling new shares so that it can buy back preferred shares in an attempt to normalize the company’s shareholder structure. The move could open the door to future capital tie-ups with other manufacturers.

“We intend to grow our global sales through the introduction of strategic vehicles,” said President Osamu Masuko, adding that the focus will be on the brand’s traditional strength in SUVs.

The plan, dubbed New Stage 2016, starts with the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2014, and runs through the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017. Mitsubishi will trim two vehicle platforms from its nine-platform lineup, and reduce its product portfolio to 13 models, from 18. The company will also push electrified drive trains in a bid to make 20 % of its vehicle output either all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2020.

Mitsubishi will channel more money into R&D and capital expenditures. It will also step up the pace of cost cutting in a push to lift operating profit 35 % to 135.0 billion yen ($1.37 billion) in the final year of the plan, from a target of 100.0 billion yen ($1.02 billion) in the current fiscal year. Masuko’s goal on operating profit margin: 5.2 %, compared to this year’s 4.7 %.

Via Automotive News Europe