Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is granting its Australian operations a new lease on life and is committing $36.2 million to upgrade and redesign the Magna/Verada range, due out in 2003. The midsize models are produced at its two Australian plants, which employ 3,300 workers.

Mitsubishi will receive about $103.4 million in government incentives if it continues manufacturing in Australia.

Mitsubishi Australia says it exceeded expectations in the first six months of the year, raising daily production to 225 vehicles per day from 190 at the start of the year. This will jump to 260 in September as it begins to fill an order destined for the U.S. Officials say the Australian subsidiary is on target to make a profit this year due to restructuring and foreign exchange improvements, after losing $96.4 million last year.