• Kyodo

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Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is considering seeking the early retirement of 500 to 600 workers starting in mid-November as part of the automaker’s restructuring plan due to a sales slump amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the matter said Friday.

Under its midterm business plan revealed in July, Mitsubishi Motors aims to reduce labor costs as part of efforts to cut overall costs by more than 20 percent so as to improve its financial standing.

Workers age 45 or older, including those in management posts, at the company’s Tokyo headquarters as well as factories in Aichi and Okayama prefectures, are subject to the planned early retirement, the sources said.

Mitsubishi Motors, which forms a three-way alliance with Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA, had a workforce of around 14,000 people as of March on a parent company basis.

The domestic vehicle output of Mitsubishi Motors plunged 69.1 percent in July from a year earlier, the largest drop among eight major domestic automakers. The company is expected to incur a net loss of ¥360 billion in the current business year through next March.

In an attempt to strengthen its profitability, Mitsubishi Motors is trying to put more business resources into the Southeast Asian market.

On the other hand, the carmaker has already decided to stop producing the Pajero sport utility vehicle and also plans to terminate production of i-MiEV compact electric vehicles, which became the world’s first mass-produced EVs in 2009.

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