TOKYO — Mitsubishi Motors Corp. on Wednesday reported a 29.3 billion yen ($279.1 million) operating loss in the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a 6.3 billion yen ($60 million) profit a year earlier as sales shrank amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The automaker is cutting its workforce and production capacity, and closing unprofitable dealerships in a bid to slash fixed costs by a fifth within two years.

“Our restructuring plan is progressing faster than we anticipated. We have cut costs faster than we initially planned,” Takao Kato, Mitsubishi Motors’ CEO, said in a telephone press briefing after the company released its results.

While the recovery in the Southeast Asian market has been sluggish, the company is planning to bolster output capacity at factories in Japan and Thailand as demand is partially picking up, Kato said.

Japan’s sixth-largest automaker kept its forecast for an operating loss of 140 billion yen ($1.3 billion) for the full fiscal year through March. That is more than an average estimate for a 115.2 billion yen loss compiled from 15 analysts polled by Refinitiv.

The company cut its sales target for the fiscal year by 21,000 vehicles to 824,000 units.

In a bid to lift annual operating profit to 50 billion yen by 2023 the junior member of the Nissan-Renault automaking alliance is also reducing its presence in Europe and North America and will be focusing on Asia.

As part of that it will halt production of its Pajero crossover model next year, and close the plant in Japan that makes it.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.



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