Mitsubishi Motors has posted consolidated net sales of JPY907.5bn for the first half of fiscal year 2011, April through September, up 5% or JPY42.8bn year on year.

The increase was driven by higher unit sales volume resulting from market growth chiefly in emerging countries as well as the introduction of new models which more than countered the negative impact of further strengthening of the yen.

MMC posted an operating profit of JPY34.2bn, a 396% or JPY27.3bn increase, through higher net sales, together with reductions in material and other costs. Ordinary profit of JPY23.3bn was up 234%, a JPY16.3bn increase.

Global sales in the first half totalled 519,000 units, up 9%, although volume fell 19% at home in Japan to 72,000 due to the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in March plus a drop in demand following the ending of eco-car subsidies in September last year.

In North America, sales increased 41% to 61,000 thanks to strong demand for the Outlander Sport. In Europe the company posted sales of 117,000 units, up 20%.

In Asia and other regions sales rose 10% to 269,000 driven mainly by strong volume in major ASEAN countries including Thailand and Indonesia as well as firm sales in central and south America, led by Brazil.

Separately MMC started production of the North American version of its i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicle (EV) at its Mizushima plant.

This will be available first in Hawaii and the US west coast states of California, Washington, and Oregon from the end of November.

The North American version of the i-MiEV has been equipped with safety features such as an advanced airbag system that detects passengers' seating position and controls deployment force, and a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to conform to North American safety requirements.

To better meet the needs of North American customers, torque has also been increased in comparison to other versions of the i-MiEV.  It also features new front and rear bumpers for enhanced protection and stability along with a larger body.