Mitsubishi Germany loses customers

Tokyo/Trebur, Germany. Mitsubishi's auto sales have dropped 15 percent since DaimlerChrysler's announcement in April that it wouldn't bale out its 37.3 percent-owned Japanese affiliate.

Ernst-Willi Busenius, chairman of the German association of authorized Mitsubishi dealers, said that customers showed a significant reluctance to buy the Japanese automaker's models.

Dealers also are very unsettled about the automaker's situation.

Mitsubishi Motors Deutschland (MMD) is giving its dealers an interest-free 180-day extension to its agreed upon times of payment to counter the sales decline.

It also is giving its dealers special terms for financing. But the dealer association is not satisfied. Negotiations over further support measures will happen soon.

MMD plans to significantly increase unit sales in 2004. Mitsubishi sold approximately 20,700 cars in Germany last year and had a market share of 0.6 percent.

In Japan, the designated savior of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC), Phoenix Capital, wants to buy the majority of shares on condition that DaimlerChrysler give up all its Mitsubishi management posts.

Phoenix insiders said Phoenix will pay 100 yen for new MMC shares. Currently shares are still worth 190 yen.

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