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Mitsubishi Motors slashes full-year profit forecast on slowing car sales

Mitsubishi Motors Corp's logo on a car and its company headquarters are seen in Tokyo, Japan, August 2, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files

TOKYO (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Motors Corp 7211.T on Wednesday cut its full-year profit outlook by 67% as it expects sluggish demand in North America and China will continue, while a strong yen and research and development costs will also hurt the automaker's bottom line.

Japan’s sixth-largest automaker now expects operating profit to come in at 30.0 billion yen in the year to March, down from a previous forecast for 90.0 billion yen. The new outlook would be Mitsubishi’s lowest profit since the year ended March 2017.

The downgrade comes after Mitsubishi, in which Nissan Motor Co 7201.T holds a controlling stake, reported a 78% plunge in operating profit during the July-September quarter to 6.3 billion yen, lower than a mean forecast for 16.26 billion yen from analysts polled by Refinitiv.

It joins a growing number of Japanese automakers which are bracing for lower profitability. Earlier on Wednesday, Subaru Corp 7270.T lowered its annual profit forecast due to a stronger yen and a cut in domestic output due to a major typhoon last month.

Mazda Motor Corp 7261.T and Suzuki Motor Corp 7269.T have also cut their respective outlooks within the past month due to slowing demand for their cars.

Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; editing by David Evans