Mitsubishi returns to profit, announces Peugeot tie-up

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Japan's fourth-biggest automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp. announced a return to profit on Tuesday and said it would team-up with France's Peugeot to launch a new sports utility vehicle in Europe.

In further signs of the auto industry's rebound from the economic slump, the company said it booked a net profit of 30.5 billion yen in the quarter ended March.

Mitsubishi said improving demand for new vehicles, particularly in Asia, following the global recession enabled it to book a net profit of 4.75 billion yen (50 million dollars) in the fiscal year ended March.

The result compares to a heavy loss of 54.88 billion yen a year ago.

The automaker recorded an operating profit of 13.9 billion yen and revenue of 1.4 trillion yen for the year.

It also announced a new partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen to launch a compact SUV in Europe for early 2012, available in both four-and two-wheel drive. It will supply 50,000 vehicles annually to the French maker.

The maker of the Pajero and Outlander sports utility vehicles said global sales for the year totalled 960,000 units, down 10 percent on the previous year. However, it says sales in China surged 64 percent year-on-year.

Sales in North America declined 26 percent over the year to 88,000 units, while sales to Europe fell 38 percent to 169,000 vehicles.

The company forecast a global sales volume of 1,121,000 vehicles for the next fiscal year, 17 percent more than the previous year, and expects turnover to increase 31.4 percent.

© 2010 AFP

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