Mitsubishi will begin exporting the Galant sedan from the United States to Eastern Europe and the Middle East in 2006 to help increase production at its under-utilised Normal, Illinois, plant, according to a Reuters report.

"There's a definite interest in Eastern Europe and the Gulf states," Rich Gilligan, who took over as chief executive of the Japanese automaker's North American operations after his predecessor Finbarr O'Neill's sudden resignation last week, told the news agency - he gave no volume targets.

Hit by plunging sales, MMC last year cut output capacity at its sole US plant by 22% to 140,000 units a year, slashing 1,200 jobs as it moved to one-shift production. The plant has maximum capacity to build 270,000 vehicles, Reuters noted.