Mitsubishi buys 40 percent stake into Russian dealer’s distribution

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

For about $72 million, Mitsubishi Corp. was able to buy 40 percent of Rolf's Mitsubishi car distribution business in Russia. Rolf is Russia's largest foreign car dealer and was hit hard by declining sales in Russia.

Reasons for the 54% drop in sales in August year-on-year include the fall of the ruble, lack of consumer credit, and rising unemployment. Expectations this year continue to be low.

The Association of European Businesses anticipates that in Russia, only 1.4 million cars will be sold this year, whereas in 2008, sales of 3.2 million were recorded.

In the January-August period, Rolf said Mitsubishi car sales to dealer networks totaled 25,906 units while sales to customers amounted to 27,906 units.

Rolf had been selling a highly discounted prices and it said that this added to significant losses within the distribution business.

It also recorded an overall loss for the eight-month period. Rolf expects sales of new Mitsubishi cars to remain at 3,000-4,000 units per month for the rest of 2009.

Rolf said Mitsubishi Corp., a shareholder of Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi Motors, would pay a minimum of $72 million. However, depending on trading over the next five years, further payments could reach up to a maximum of $128 million.

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