Mitsubishi Is Going Strong in North America, Struggling in Other Markets

Feb 03, 2015 06:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Mitsubishi has been gaining in the North American market, posting a 12 percent rise in sales year over year for the latest quarter, but the Tokyo-based carmaker is falling behind in Japan and Europe.

In the fiscal third quarter that ended on Dec. 31, Mitsubishi's profit in North America rose from $8.3 million to $25 million year over year, Automotive News reported. Boosted sales and the decline of the yen against the dollar have helped regional profit to grow.

The popular Outlander Sport compact crossover and Mirage subcompact hatchback models have helped boost the automaker's regional sales forecast for the current fiscal year that ends on March 31 by 1,000 units to 117,000.

As Mitsubishi continues to recover in the market, the automaker expects its North American division will post a $25 million operating profit in the fiscal year ending March 31.

"North America has been a drain on Mitsubishi, partly because of its high-cost, low-output assembly plant in Normal, Ill., its only factory in North America," according to Automotive News. "But stepped-up local production and favorable exchange rates are rapidly erasing the red ink."

The company's North American operations have come a long way; Mitsubishi last reported a small operating income of 600 million yen, or $5 million, in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2007.

But while the North American outlook was positive, Mitsubishi took hits in Europe and Japan that brought down its quarterly results.

Thailand and Japan saw decreased sales volume, while Russia made a dent in overall results as well, according to a company report issued today. The failing Russian ruble, which has been negatively affecting carmakers industry-wide, hurt earnings as the currency continues to lose value.

Sales in Europe increased 16 percent to 67,000 units for the quarter; however, operating profit dropped 53 percent year over year, falling from $171.8 million to $80 million.

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