Mitsubishi Motors forecasts full-year loss due to falling car sales

Global automakers including Mitsubishi Motors have been forced to reconsider their production and sales strategies in the near term. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 27 July 2020

Mitsubishi Motors forecasts full-year loss due to falling car sales

  • Japan’s No. 6 automaker anticipates its biggest operating loss in at least 16 years
  • Global automakers have been forced to reconsider their production and sales strategies in the near term

TOKYO: Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp. on Monday forecast an operating loss of ¥140 billion ($1.33 billion) in the year to March as the automaker battles a fall in demand for cars due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.
Japan’s No. 6 automaker anticipates its biggest operating loss in at least 16 years, according to Reuters data, just as it embarks on a plan to shrink its workforce and production, and close unprofitable dealerships to reduce 20 percent of fixed costs in two years.
“To pave the way to recovery, the top priority of all executives is to share a sense of crisis with employees to execute cost reductions,” Chief Executive Takeo Kato told reporters.
Global automakers including Mitsubishi Motors have been forced to reconsider their production and sales strategies in the near term as the coronavirus pandemic has eroded demand for cars.
The maker of the Outlander SUV reported a ¥53.3 billion operating loss in the first quarter, its second operating loss in three quarters, after vehicle sales more than halved between April and June from the previous year.
The loss compares with an operating profit of ¥3.9 billion a year ago, and was worse than a consensus estimate of a ¥43.5 billion loss drawn from six analysts polled by Refinitiv.
As part of its restructuring plan, Mitsubishi said it would stop producing its Pajero SUV crossover model in the first half of 2021, and close the plant in central Japan which makes the vehicle.
The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated Mitsubishi’s struggles as the automaker had already been battling falling sales in China and also southeast Asia, its largest market which accounts for one-quarter of sales.
As part of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance’s wider restructuring plan, Mitsubishi will focus on growth in southeast Asia as part of the alliance’s plan for each company to expand in their regions of strength.


Indonesia turns focus to energy security and renewables amid pandemic

Updated 24 November 2020

Indonesia turns focus to energy security and renewables amid pandemic

  • Govt. aims to use of opportunity presented by COVID-19 outbreak to make transition

JAKARTA: The fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has presented Indonesia with the opportunity to work toward energy security and switch from conventional to renewable sources, officials have said.

“Indonesia has made various breakthroughs such as making use of biodiesel B30,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said during an online press conference on Sunday, quoting President Joko Widodo’s address during the G20 Summit.

“(We) will be conducting tests on green diesel D100 from palm oil – which will absorb 1 million tons of palm oil produced by farmers – and also install rooftop solar power plants in hundreds of thousands of households,” he added.

Widodo also made a reference to data from the World Economic Forum on the massive potential of the green economy, which could generate up to $10.1 trillion and create 395 million new jobs by 2030.

Earlier this month on Nov. 4, energy and mineral resources minister Arifin Tasrif said that the current difficulties posed by the pandemic had spurred Indonesia to accelerate the energy transition, by developing renewable energy, ensure efficiency and work toward maintaining energy security for lasting energy independence.

Energy security and its steady supply were some of the top concerns voiced by Tasrif during the G20 energy ministers’ meeting in September.

“COVID-19 has created an economic crisis and shrunk energy demands. All G20 members must work together to ensure that the energy market is stabilized and maintain supply affordability. These are a top priority for Indonesia,” Tasrif said at the meeting.

He also lauded Saudi Arabia, the summit host, for pushing ahead with the 4Rs issue – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Remove – in the circular carbon economy (CCE) concept, which was endorsed by the energy ministers after their meetings.

Tasrif said the issue was an “important part of reintroducing the role of biofuel and hydrogen in the CCE platform,” and in line with Indonesia’s adoption of the mandatory use of biodiesel – containing 30 percent palm oil and known as B30 – from January this year, specifically in the transport, power plant, industrial and commercial sectors.

Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, has set a target to use 23 percent of renewable energy by 2025 and 50 percent by 2050, as part of its national energy mix plan.

The government has listed provisions for renewable energy and its conservation among its seven priority programs for next year and allocated 16.7 billion rupiahs ($1.2 million) for environmental preservation efforts in the 2021 budget.

“Our state budget is very much pro-green ... The government is already on the right track with the implementation of energy transition policy,” Arif Budimanta, a special presidential staff on economic affairs, said during an online discussion recently.

He added that President Joko Widodo had been very “hands-on” with the implementation of the energy transition policy and was directly supervising the progress of the policy.

Government officials claimed that the adoption of B30’s mandatory use – the first in the world – has been successful.

However, its target this year had reduced from the initial 9.5 million kilolitres to 8.3 million kilolitres, with 6 million kilolitres realized so far.

Mandatory use is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 16.9 million tons.

“The switch to a biodiesel program, which has been in place since 2015, has been able to replace almost 25 million liters of imported fossil fuel by June this year, and we have been able to save foreign exchange spending by roughly equivalent of 127 trillion rupiahs,” Eddy Abdurrachman, head of the Palm Oil Plantation Fund Management Agency said during a recent webinar.

Static tests on diesel engines for 1,000 hours of use of the biodiesel blend are underway at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s research and development lab.

The head of the research and development agency, Dadan Kusdiana, said on Aug. 26 that scientists had managed to conduct studies on the lab’s engine test bench after the COVID-19 outbreak restricted them from testing on the roads.

“We expect to wrap up the tests by the end of the year,” Kusdiana said.