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Mitsubishi global losses put pressure on UK performance

The UK outgunned Mitsubishi’s global performance after retailers enjoyed a record 2004 for cars and LCV sales.

Despite this performance – sales up 12.5% to 36,000 – and similar results elsewhere in Europe, losses at Mitsubishi Motors Corporation more than doubled last year as declining sales in Japan and North America took their toll.

Mitsubishi posted a net loss of £2.41bn last year, £1.32bn worse than in 2003.

Sales in North America dropped by 36% to 174,000 with curbs on fleet business blamed for the poor figures. Even in its home territory of Japan Mitsubishi fared badly with a 37% decrease in sales to 132,000 vehicles.

The UK continues to provide respite for Mitsubishi, with the model line-up now including several new models including Outlander, Lancer, the Grandis MPV – with a diesel to be added later this year – and the Colt. The company will be under growing pressure to maintain this sales momentum and is offering finance and money off deals including a £1,000 discount on the Colt 1.1 Equippe and 1.3 Elegance 5-door models and a £2,000 reduction on the list price of LWB Shogun Equippe.

A new Colt Convertible is launched in early 2006 together with an all new L200, which is one of manufacturers most important models in the UK. Mitsubishi is on track for another record year in 2004 with projected sales of 44,000.

“Our natural balance is around 50,000 units a year which we hope to achieve by 2007,” says a Mitsubishi spokesperson.

“Europe is a high performing market for the corporation at the moment and it does put additional pressure on markets such as the UK to keep delivering results, but we are on track to keep up that performance.”

For 2005 Mitsubishi is forecasting a global net loss of £320m, which would be an improvement of £2bn if achieved, as part of its Revitalization Plan.

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