* Q1 operating profit 20.6 bln yen, beats estimates
* Keeps net profit f'cast at 68 bln yen for year to March 2018
* Says Q1 global vehicle sales up 9 percent y/y
* Q1 domestic vehicle sales almost double y/y (Adds global sales figures, share price, CFO comment)
TOKYO, July 25 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Motors Corp on Tuesday posted a four-fold jump in its operating profit for the first quarter, as the Japanese automaker clawed back from a slump in domestic sales a year ago when it admitted to a mileage-cheating scandal.
Operating profit at Japan's No.7 automaker came in at 20.6 billion yen ($185.20 million) for the April-June quarter, higher than an average estimate of 15.10 billion yen from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
This compares to 4.6 billion yen a year ago, when sales were hit after it was found the automaker had overstated the fuel economy on some of its Japanese models. Later in 2016, Nissan Motor Co took a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors, pledging to help in the embattled company's turnaround.
Mitsubishi Motors' global sales grew 9 percent over the first quarter, led by sales at home which almost doubled from a year ago to 19,000 vehicles.
Its sales rose in China, the world's largest auto market, where Mitsubishi Motors last year began manufacturing its Outlander SUV. The automaker also said that demand for SUVs and pickup trucks had risen in Southeast Asia.
The company - which has reorganised the engineering division involved in the mileage manipulation scandal and has improved testing processes and compliance procedures - kept its forecast for a net profit of 68.0 billion yen in the current year ending March 2018, versus a net loss of 198.5 billion yen last year.
This year, it anticipates better sales and cost savings from its alliance with Nissan to boost operating profit to 70 billion yen, from 5.1 billion yen last year.
Cooperation with Nissan generated 3.5 billion yen in synergies in the quarter through June, Mitsubishi Motors Chief Financial Officer Koji Ikeya told reporters.
Mitsubishi Motors shares have risen about 18 percent this year, outstripping a 4 percent gain in the broader index . On Tuesday, the stock closed up 0.26 percent ahead of the earnings release. ($1 = 111.2300 yen) (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu and Sam Nussey; Editing by Himani Sarkar)