Mitsubishi Motors Corporation on Friday has started production of the Outlander SUV at Okazaki plant, located in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture.

Okazaki will build 29,000 units in the second half of fiscal year 2006 mainly for the North America, Russia and Japanese markets.

Mizushima plant has been producing the model so far, but due to robust growth in sales of domestic mini-cars and export models, the plant's production capacity has reached maximum level. Transferring part of Outlander production will ease pressure on the currently overloaded Mizushima.

At a production-start ceremony, Mitsubishi Motors president Masuko said: "It's a great pleasure to celebrate a new start at Okazaki plant which once we had decided to close.

Okazaki plant had been operated on one shift from April 2004 but has now moved to two-shift operation.

The Outlander is about to go on sale across Europe. It sold 28,444 units in Japan between October 2005 and October 2006 compared with a forecast of 17,000 units.