TOKYO – Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko believes the automaker’s latest midterm business plan, scheduled to take effect April 1, marks a coming of age for the company in its quest to achieve sustainably profitable operations.

Masuko, who took over as president shortly before DaimlerChrysler withdrew its equity stake in spring 2005, revealed the plan in November.

Mitsubishi announced in February that Masuko, 66, would be promoted to CEO and board chairman in June. His successor as president, Tetsuro Aikawa, will serve concurrently as chief operating officer and be responsible for implementing the business plan.

Named New Stage 2016, the plan lays out aggressive earnings, sales and production goals for fiscal 2016. Targets include record earnings of ¥135 billion ($1.3 billion) on sales of ¥2.6 trillion ($25.4 billion), both up more than 40% from fiscal 2012 levels, and output of more than 1.4 million units.

More than 60% of Mitsubishi vehicles will be built outside Japan, double levels of three years ago.

Profit margins, though still below Japanese market leaders Toyota and Honda, are projected to reach a solid 5%.

“Moving forward, our growth engines will be emerging markets and environmental technologies,” Masuko tells WardsAuto. “We’ve planted many seeds and expect to bear fruit in the coming three years.”

Among those “seeds” are a new model lineup built around SUVs and plug-in hybrids.

In total, the automaker plans to launch seven new models by March 2017. These include a remodeled Triton pickup and four next-generation SUVs, the Pajero Sport, Pajero, RVR and Delica D:5. Also coming are a pair of PHEVs, one compact and one large.

The plug-ins likely will be based on two Tokyo auto show concepts, the GC-PHEV and XR-PHEV.

Concurrently, Mitsubishi will further streamline its platform and model lineups in an effort to get more bang for its buck...or the yen...or the baht, since Thailand is the automaker’s second-largest production center behind Japan.

Management plans to reduce platform numbers from nine to seven. In April 2011, when the automaker launched its Jump 2013 business plan (predecessor to New Stage 16), it had 12 platforms on which it built 23 models. Over the next three years it plans to reduce models to 13.