TOKYO (Reuters) -Mitsubishi Motors has decided to end automobile production in China, and is discussing its exit with local joint venture partner Guangzhou Automobile Group, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Wednesday, without citing sources.
GAC will likely convert the plant, in Hunan province, to a production base for electric vehicles, the paper said.
Mitsubishi Motors said talks about the future of its China business with the shareholders in the joint venture (JV) in the country were ongoing and that nothing had been decided about it.
The JV, known as GAC Mitsubishi Motors, was launched by GAC, Mitsubishi Motors and trading house Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T) in 2012, focusing on SUV sales in China.
The venture said in July it would cut staff costs in a bid to revitalise its fortunes, after it stopped producing the car maker's Outlander sports utility vehicle following weak sales just months after its launch in December.
Mitsubishi Motors in April said it would take a $78-million charge for slowing sales at the venture. The automaker sold just under 32,000 vehicles in China last year, down about 50% from 2021.
Mitsubishi Corp gave the same statement as Mitsubishi Motors.
(Reporting by Daniel Leussink, Mariko Katsumura and Kantaro KomiyaEditing by Chang-Ran Kim & Simon Cameron-Moore)