The head of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. reportedly said on Wednesday the auto maker’s first-half loss would likely be smaller than expected, supported by stronger sales volume than originally projected.
Reuters noted that MMC and other Japanese automakers are likely to benefit from a weak yen against the dollar and euro in the October-March second half, with most having assumed a dollar/yen rate of 105 yen – the greenback was trading around 115.80 yen on Wednesday.
While that will likely be a big plus, MMC chief executive Osamu Masuko told Reuters in an interview the company had no plans to change its full-year forecast when it announces results next month for the April-September first-half.
“There is still some uncertainty for the rest of the year, particularly in markets like the United States,” he said at the Tokyo motor show.
Masuko reportedly said sales in North America have been stalling since the end of September and looked set to stay weak this month but he added that sales were robust in Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
While MMC has been trying to cut losses at its under-used plants by supplying vehicles to other makers through original equipment manufacturer (OEM) arrangements, Masuko told Reuters the company was no longer looking for more OEM partners.
He said the Mizushima plant in western Japan, where it produces minicars for Nissan, was at full capacity and had had to turn down requests to supply more.
Mitsubishi also has an agreement, signed earlier this year, with France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen to produce sport utility vehicles under the Peugeot and Citroen brands, Reuters noted.
Masuko reportedly acknowledged that raw material prices had risen more than initially expected, but said Mitsubishi Motors was working on a three-year cost-cutting programme that seeks to reduce the number of components in a car.
“We’re seeing a lot of impacts from these cost cuts, even this year,” Masuko told the news agency. “We’re offsetting (rising raw material costs) quite a bit.”