Scandal-hit Mitsubishi Motors will lower its domestic vehicle sales target for the year ending next March to 220,000 units from 300,000 projected in May, a news agency report said, citing the business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

According to Reuters, the move reflects a steep decline in domestic sales of Mitsubishi cars due to a series of scandals involving Japan’s fourth-largest carmaker.

If Mitsubishi Motors, Japan’s only loss-making carmaker, were to sell only 220,000 units this fiscal year ending March 2005, a decline of 40% from the level reached in the previous fiscal year, sales would likely drop by 100 billion yen and operating profit by up to 30 billion yen the report added.

It added that, with the expected sharp drop in earnings, Mitsubishi Motors would move up its restructuring plans to cut 11,000 jobs by the end of fiscal 2006 ending March 2007.

Reuters noted that Mitsubishi Motors has been dogged by bad publicity this year after revelations that it had been hiding dangerous defects from the authorities.

The company’s former president was arrested last week, his house raided by police this week and, also this week, Mitsubishi Fuso announced the recall of 450,000 trucks and buses built as far back as 1983, when it was an arm of Mitsubishi Motors.