Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will break even in the current business year, which ends Sunday, chief operating officer of the automaker said Monday.

"I'm quite satisfied with the progress we made after one year working hard," Rolf Eckrodt, MMC's executive vice president and COO, said in an interview with The Japan Times.

MMC promised to break even in the current business year after the tremendous losses it incurred in the previous 12 months.

"I'm optimistic to show that at the end of this fiscal year," he said, referring to the financial results to be formally released in May.

Mitsubishi, hit hard by a consumer-complaint coverup scandal in 2000, reported 75.6 billion yen in net losses in fiscal 2000 and suffered a 31.49 billion yen net loss in the first half of the current business year.

Eckrodt admitted that the recent depreciation of the yen against the dollar was among the factors that helped boost results. "We are a little bit lucky this year."

Under its turnaround plan, launched last April, MMC promised to break even in the 2001 business year, as well as to cut its procurement costs by 15 percent by 2003 and slash 9,500 jobs by March 31, 2004.

Eckrodt, who came from the German-U.S. auto giant and MMC's partner DaimlerChrysler AG in January 2001, said the company's restructuring efforts have been on the right track.

DaimlerChrysler currently holds a 37.8 percent stake in MMC.