Meanwhile, Masuko maintains Mitsubishi will achieve its electric-vehicle/plug-in hybrid sales target of 20% in fiscal 2020 despite a recent sharp downturn in i-MiEV sales. Through September, i-MiEV sales were off 90% from fiscal-2011 levels.

To critics who argue lithium battery costs will not come down sufficiently to make EVs viable, Masuko notes that when the automaker launched the i-MiEV electric car in June 2009 the battery alone cost more than ¥2 million ($20,000).

Since then, prices have fallen by two-thirds, he says, adding: “And we’re going to see further reductions in the future. The age of EVs and plug-in hybrids will surely come.”

Mitsubishi’s business plan also involves expanding Mitsubishi’s Southeast Asian production base, currently centered in Thailand, to Malaysia and the Philippines.

In Malaysia, the automaker began assembling ASX CUVs in January. Management confirms plans to expand capacity in the Philippines but has not yet committed to a production site.

Mitsubishi currently builds L300, Adventure and Lancer EX models at a small assembly plant in the suburbs of Manila. News reports indicate the automaker will add 100,000 units of capacity by 2015, although the number seems inflated given the size of the Philippine market.

In total, the company plans to invest an average ¥100 billion ($1 billion) annually in facilities over the next three years including, in addition to overseas operations, upgrades of its Mizushima and Okazaki plants in Japan.

Asia is where the automaker is projecting greatest sales growth: 120,000 units in Southeast Asia and 90,000 in China to 390,000 and 200,000, respectively, by fiscal 2016.

Looking to the future, Masuko says Mitsubishi will continue its policy not to enter into capital alliances with domestic or foreign automakers. But business alliances like the ones it has with Nissan and PSA Peugeot Citroen will be pursued.

Mitsubishi currently builds 0.7L minicars with Nissan at its Mizushima plant. Nissan supplies Delica, Delica D:3, Dignity, Proudia and Lancer Cargo models to Mitsubishi in Japan while Mitsubishi provides Nissan with Navara pickups in Thailand.

Suzuki since 2011 has supplied rebadged Solios sold as the Delica D:2 by Mitsubishi.

In Russia, Mitsubishi is partnering with PSA to produce Outlander and Pajero Sport SUVs while exporting rebadged i-MiEVs to Peugeot and Citroen for sale in Europe.

Mitsubishi also is cleaning up its balance sheet. In December 2012, management sold the money-losing NedCar operation in Born, the Netherlands. Now off the books are an estimated ¥10 billion to ¥15 billion ($10 million to $15 million) in yearly losses.

The automaker is attempting to buy back ¥240 billion ($2.4 billion) in preferred stocks from major shareholders Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Corp. The current capital arrangement dates back to 2005, when DaimlerChrysler withdrew financial support from the Japanese auto maker.