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Mitsubishi Cuts 60 Jobs at U.S. Division

The Cypress-based unit feels the sting as sales are dropping precipitously.

September 09, 2004|John O'Dell | Times Staff Writer

Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp. continues to trim its North American payroll, cutting 60 jobs Wednesday at its Southern California-based sales division.

Mitsubishi's U.S. sales were down 60% in August from a year earlier and 34% through eight months. Mitsubishi Motors North America, the automaker's Cypress-based importer and distributor, is feeling the sting.

The firings affected 45 workers in Mitsubishi's sales division headquarters in Orange County as well as 15 in regional offices.

An additional 28 positions left open by previous layoffs and hiring freezes also were eliminated.

The payroll reduction, effective Nov. 10, follows the firing of 200 sales and financial division employees in December and cuts total Mitsubishi Motors North America employment to 1,190.

In addition, Mitsubishi's separate North American manufacturing unit eliminated 1,200 jobs this summer at its assembly plant in Normal, Ill., cutting employment there to about 2,100.

Mitsubishi's U.S. auto sales have dropped precipitously in the last 20 months as the company ended freewheeling financing and sales programs that moved vehicles off dealers' lots but caused huge losses from loan defaults.

The Tokyo-based parent also is struggling with declining sales in the wake of scandals involving corporate cover-ups of safety and engineering flaws in Japanese-market vehicles.

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