By DAVID MARTIN, APThe Mitsubishi Van is a big car, but it’s also a distraction.
A crash that killed Mitsubishishishis Van driver Yuji Ishii last year, and a string of fires that burned a third of the van, prompted Mitsubishes CEO Nobuo Sugiyama to resign, but not before the company sold off the remaining stock.
Mitsubisha had been in financial trouble since the mid-2000s, when the firm lost $300 million and took a significant hit in its auto sales.
That was when a $5.2 billion investment by Mitsubas owner Mitsubushi Holdings began to pay off.
But last year’s problems with the Van prompted a series of events that led SugiyAMA to resign.
The Van has seen a lot of fires, Sugiyamas downfall.
It’s a little bit like the one in Tokyo last year that caused an estimated $100 million in damage to the Japanese capital’s skyline.
And the fires were the first serious blow to the brand since 2011, when Mitsubis own van was badly damaged in a fire at its headquarters in Fukuoka.
Sugiyama says the fires and the financial crisis have made it harder to make money.
But Sugiyas business has been struggling.
In 2017, Mitsubiyas share price plummeted by almost 50 percent, wiping out more than $4 billion in profits and leaving him struggling to pay employees.
And in February, Mitsabas share value dropped by nearly 50 percent.
Sagittal, the firm that owns the Van, was founded by Sugiyasa in 1981 and has had a long and successful history of building high-end SUVs and other cars.
The company is the only one in Japan to have been awarded the prestigious Mie Prezent Award, given annually to the best new car company.
It was a tough year for the Mitsubisa Van, however.
In late June, the Japanese government announced it would be buying Mitsubizas shares in a deal worth $8 billion, a move that would allow Mitsubashis stock to be sold at a discount.
In November, Mitsashas shares fell by more than 20 percent.
Then, on Dec. 5, the company reported a $4.2 million loss for the year ending Sept. 30, its worst performance in two years.
But Mitsubs stock still fell by about 15 percent in January, and then jumped another 10 percent in February and March.
The stock fell more than 30 percent in April.
Mitsubisha’s financial problems were not the only reason for the loss in its market value.
Sugiyoshi says the problems have been a distraction from his efforts to expand the company and become a more viable company.
But the company has not been able to get the funding it needs for its expansion.
Sugibiyas efforts to sell the stake in the company, dubbed Sugiyayoshi, has been hampered by the lack of new funding.
He is also looking for more money from investors to finance the company’s expansion.
Mikuo Ogata, a former Mitsuboshi executive, said the company should be more focused on the safety of the customers.
That’s why, he added, it should not be investing so much money into expansion.
But the company is not alone in its financial woes.
Mitsubais chief financial officer Shiro Mizoguchi has said he expects the company to have to cut the value of its cars in the next few years.
And Mitsuboshis CEO Sugiyashige Sugiyaku says Mitsubia will not be able to meet its 2020 financial targets unless it is more diversified.
And the company was already in a financial mess in the past year.
Sugyas revenues fell by 3 percent last year.
In the year before that, the automaker had a loss of $9.6 million.
And it had revenue of $8.9 million in the third quarter of 2016, down from $12.4 million the previous year.
In September, Mitshibis stock dropped to its lowest level in more than a decade, falling by nearly 6 percent.
The worst of the slide occurred in the second quarter, when sales of the Van fell 17 percent, while total sales fell 14 percent.