By Yuri Kageyama
TOKYO (AP) _ Scandal-tarnished Mitsubishi Motors trimmed its
losses for the third quarter, although it continued to struggle to
The Japanese automaker reported a 4.3-billion-yen
($36-million-US) net loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31,
considerably better than the 49.4-billion-yen loss for the third
quarter of 2004.
Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has struggled for several
years to restore its image and boost sales as it fought recurring
scandals centred on cover-ups of auto defects.
Sales for the October-December period totalled 538 billion yen
($4.6 billion US), down two per cent from 547 billion yen the
Lower advertising costs in the United States and Europe as well
as the weaker yen helped the company trim its loss, Mitsubishi
Motors said in a statement Thursday.
Also adding to the latest results was the absence of losses this
fiscal year related to the U.S. financial services unit that came in
In 2000, Mitsubishi Motors acknowledged it had been
systematically hiding auto defects from authorities for more than
The automaker has since announced a spate of recalls, and
disclosed in 2004 it had failed to come clean in 2000 and had more
Mitsubishi Motors' sales had been lagging even before the defect
scandal surfaced, as it fell behind powerful domestic rivals like
Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.
Mitsubishi had already suffered earlier scandals since the
mid-1990s, including a sexual harassment lawsuit in the United
States and arrests of executives on criminal charges in Japan of
paying off racketeers tied to gangsters.
But faith in the Mitsubishi brand, respected for decades in the
past, took its worst hit among Japanese consumers with the defect
The defects are suspected in two fatal accidents in 2002 in
Japan. One occurred when a tire rolled off a truck and crushed a
pedestrian; the other when a truck crashed after its brakes failed
and killed the driver.
Mitsubishi Motors appeared to be on a turnaround for a few years
under an alliance with DaimlerChrysler AG, but the German automaker
withdrew additional financing in 2004.
Since then, Mitsubishi Motors has received massive cash infusions
from the Mitsubishi group of companies, including a bank, machinery
maker and trading company, to support revival efforts.
The automaker said the recovery remains on track.
For the first three quarters of this fiscal year, Mitsubishi
Motors sold 985,000 vehicles globally, up four per cent from the
same period a year ago.
Mitsubishi Motors kept unchanged its forecast for the year ending
March 31 at a 64 billion yen ($542 million US) loss on 2.22 trillion
yen ($19 billion US) in sales.