Mitsubishi Motors Corp. almost doubled its operating profit for the fiscal year ended March 2014 to JPY123.4 billion ($1.2 billion). With the results, the carmaker is now optimistic that it could achieve its mid-term annual operating profit target of JPY135 billion in this current fiscal year ending March 2015, two years earlier than planned.
The carmaker had its operating profit in the quarter ended March surge 2 percent to JPY27.1 billion. Mitsubishi saw its sales in Thailand drop around 40 percent in the 2013-2014 fiscal year to around 85,000 vehicles, no thanks to the termination of a subsidy scheme in 2012 and a protracted political crisis in the country.
The Japanese carmaker expects it sales in Thailand sales to recover in the second half of its current fiscal year, as booted by the introduction of a refreshed version of its Triton pickup truck, en route to a 20-percent surge in sales to 101,500 vehicles for the entire year.
Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuko, however, expects its operations in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to be “fairly smooth” this fiscal year, adding that the region will remain a pillar to the company’s profits.
Southeast Asia accounts for around a quarter of Mitsubishi's sales around the world and the carmaker intends to grow in the region by 44 percent to end-March 2017 through expanding domestic production capacity as well as introducing new models. The decline in Thailand was offset was growing sales in other countries and regions.
For instance, Mitsubishi gained 7 percent in Indonesia to 93,000 vehicles, and 11 percent in Europe to 202,000 vehicles as boosted by good demand for its Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV.
Mitsubishi has seen its global sales boosted by a depreciating yen that renders Japan-made exports cheaper abroad and hikes the value of overseas revenue when converted into the local currency. The Japanese yen has depreciated around 10 percent against the United States dollar since April 2013. Mitsubishi is set to make a JPY25 dividend payment for the fiscal year ended March 2014.