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Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Monday that 654 of its employees, more than its target of 550, will leave the automaker under an early retirement program as part of restructuring efforts to reduce personnel costs.

The struggling automaker, which is in a three-way alliance with Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA, introduced the program last month for workers age 45 or over, including those in management posts, due to falling sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The applicants will leave the company by the end of January, receiving added retirement allowances, the automaker said.

Under its midterm business plan revealed in July, Mitsubishi Motors, with a workforce of some 14,000 as of March on a parent company basis, aims to cut overall costs by more than 20% so as to improve its financial standing.

The automaker said it will book a special loss of ¥7.2 billion ($69 million) related to the early retirement program in the current business year through March, while maintaining its earnings outlook for fiscal 2020 as the impact of the expected loss has already been priced in.

In the six months through September, Mitsubishi Motors incurred a net loss of ¥209.88 billion due to slumping global sales and an asset impairment loss, with its sales tumbling 49.0%.

In an attempt to turn its business around, Mitsubishi Motors is trying to focus its resources on the Southeast Asian market, where it has a relatively strong market share.

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