TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Motors looks to expand its sales network in China by 40% to 300 locations during the fiscal year that ends in March under a strategy to boost investment in emerging economies as sales in more mature markets top out.
The Japanese automaker produces sport utility vehicles like the Outlander in China, amid growing local demand for such vehicles. Mitsubishi hopes to advertise its products better and strengthen relationships with local partners by pushing into inland regions and other areas where the company's presence remains limited.
The Chinese government wants to boost sales of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and other so-called new energy automobiles. Mitsubishi has begun testing a plug-in version of the Outlander in China, aiming to commercialize it in the near future.
Mitsubishi also intends to boost output in other markets. The automaker has received more than 10,000 bookings for its Xpander minivan, which it started producing in Indonesia this month -- more than double the monthly sales target. The company will increase production at a local factory launched in April.
Sales in Russia also are recovering, rising 20% on the year in April-July to about 6,000 units. The automaker plans to boost production of SUVs there as well.
Mitsubishi aims to raise global unit sales by 25% between now and fiscal 2019 to 1.25 million. Asia currently accounts for about 30% of the total, and boosting sales in other regions, including Europe, where it sells 20% of its vehicles, remains the company's major challenge.