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Last Updated: Monday, 23 May, 2005, 06:13 GMT 07:13 UK
Losses widen at Mitsubishi Motors
Mitsubishi Colt
Mitsubishi's management is putting its faith in new models
Mitsubishi Motors, Japan's only unprofitable carmaker, has seen its full-year loss more than double as sales dropped at home and abroad.

The company has struggled to win back customers after it acknowledged that vehicle defects were hidden, and the faults were linked to two road deaths.

Its loss was 478.8bn yen ($4.4bn) in the 12 months to 31 March, from a shortfall of 215.4bn a year earlier.

Sales for the year slid 16% to 2.1 trillion yen from 2.5 trillion yen.

Long memories

Mitsubishi is doing its best to rebuild its reputation, but analysts said it will take a long time for consumers to forget the problems.

Profits also are unlikely to recover quickly, with Mitsubishi forecasting a 64 billion yen loss for the current fiscal year on sales of 2.2 trillion yen.

The company has had to rely on cash injections to keep operating, and was given $5.25bn earlier this year to shore up its balance sheet and finance the development of new cars.

It had previously been given a $4.8bn bailout by the Mitsubishi group and investment funds.

Mitsubishi is about 20% owned by DaimlerChrysler and was dealt a blow when the German-US carmaker refused to provide further financing.

The company's problems started in 2000 when government inspectors found a cache of complaints about Mitsubishi trucks hidden in a locker room.

Among the problems that were being reported and ignored were failing brakes, fuel leaks and malfunctioning clutches.

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