Mitsubishi posts record annual operating profit

TOKYO (Reuters) — Mitsubishi Motors Corp. nearly doubled its operating profit for the year ended March to an all-time high of 123.4 billion yen ($1.2 billion) as a drop in Thai sales was offset by growing sales in most other regions around the world.

The Japanese automaker now expects to hit its mid-term annual operating profit target of 135 billion yen in this financial year to March 2015, two years earlier than planned.

Mitsubishi’s Thai sales fell about 40 percent in the last financial year to around 85,000 vehicles as the country’s auto market has been in decline since a subsidy scheme ended in 2012 and because of prolonged political crisis.

The automaker expects Thai sales to bounce back in the latter half of this financial year with the autumn launch of a remodelled version of its best-selling Triton pickup truck. Mitsubishi aims to boost full-year sales there by 20 percent to 101,500 vehicles.

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