Mitsubishi hopes to pay dividend -- for a change
Where were you in 1997? That was the year H. Wayne Huizenga's Republic Industries Inc. burst on the scene, becoming the nation's largest new-car dealership group in less than a year. The company later changed its name to AutoNation.
In 1997, the Daimler and Chrysler "merger of equals" was still a year in the future.
And 1997 was also the most recent year that Mitsubishi Motors paid a dividend.
Now, President Osamu Masuko wants to change that. He's determined to pay a dividend in 2013 -- 16 years after the last one -- and he's giving executives new assignments and clear marching orders to make it happen.
Masuko has appointed three new chairmen for three critical regions: North America, China and Japan. North American Chairman Gayu Uesugi, a product-development expert, has the same marching orders as the other two: Push the region into the black.
In the fiscal first half ended Sept. 30, North America posted an operating loss of $168.2 million; losses were slightly less in Europe and Japan. Only Asia outside of Japan posted a profit.
Mitsubishi expects the North American loss to narrow slightly in the full fiscal year to March 31, 2013. But Masuko is demanding black ink the next year.
It's up to Uesugi to produce results more like AutoNation's, rather than DaimlerChrysler's.