Mitsubishi Motors has announced an operating loss of JPY29.6bn (US$312.7m; EUR221.4m) for the first quarter of fiscal 2010, JPY39.5bn down from the operating profit of JPY9.9bn in April to June last year.

The automaker said lower sales and a stronger yen overcame its cost-cutting efforts during the quarter.

Sales declined 58% to JPY259.1bn yen and the net loss was JPY26.4bn compared with a net profit og JPY10.3bn a year ago.

Global retail sales declined 32% to 213,000 units and all regions reported falls.

North America was down 42% to 21,000 units due largely to lower volume in the United States, where overall demand remained “stagnant”.

Though government stimulus packages boosted sales in some European markets including Germany, downturns in Russia (where Mitsubishi had been particularly strong) and the Ukraine contributed to the 47% drop to 49,000 units.

Though sales increased in markets including China and the Philippines, and there were signs of recovery are starting to be seen in Australia and other countries, overall sales in that region fell 24% to 112,000 units.

MMC said the first quarter of 2009 had, nonetheless, “proceeded as planned” and left its half and full year forecasts unchanged.