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Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Tuesday it will ease production cuts at domestic plants in March as it rethinks its sharp inventory cutbacks of recent months.

MMC said it plans to operate its mainstay Nagoya plant, which manufactures the Colt car, for 24 days in March as originally planned after idling it for six days in addition to the originally planned holidays in February.

Pajero Manufacturing Co., MMC’s Gifu Prefecture-based unit manufacturing the Pajero sport utility vehicle, plans to halve the number of holidays for its plant from 13 in February to six in March.

At the Mizushima plant in Okayama Prefecture, Mitsubishi Motors will operate production lines for vehicles, excluding minivehicles with engine displacements of up to 660cc, for 15 days in March against seven days in February. The number of days production lines for minivehicles will be left idle will also be reduced from five in February to two in March.

The slowdown in production cuts in March will come after MMC sharply slashes production in February in a bid to reduce its global output for fiscal 2008, which ends March 31, by 330,000 vehicles from its initial plan set last April.

Toyota Motor Corp. also plans to cut inventories to adequate levels by the end of April and ramp up output from May.

Major automakers have rapidly slashed production to cope with weak sales amid the global economic crisis, but changes in the trend appear to be emerging, an analyst said.

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