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NEW YORK (Kyodo) New vehicle sales by Mitsubishi Motors Corp. in the United States plunged 45.7 percent in June from a year earlier to 12,301 units, marking a 12th straight monthly decline, the automaker’s U.S. arm said Thursday.

The figure highlights the fact that the automaker, reeling from a string of defect coverup scandals, is rapidly losing customers in the Japanese and U.S. markets.

MMC’s sales of new vehicles in Japan plunged 64.3 percent in June to 4,885, the largest decline in the history of the automaker.

The 45.7 percent decline in the United States was also among the biggest declines on record for the company.

The automaker’s combined sales in the U.S. market from January to June dropped 26.7 percent from the same period a year earlier to 101,802 vehicles, contrasting with the fortunes of other Japanese carmakers that are enjoying brisk sales.

Mitsubishi’s market share in the United States fell 0.5 percentage point to 1.2 percent.

Toyota Motor Corp. sold 1,004,636 vehicles during the January-June period, up 10.5 percent from a year earlier. It became the first automaker outside the so-called Big Three U.S. companies to sell more than 1 million vehicles in a six-month period.

Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. also increased their sales during the first six months of the year.

According to data compiled by Autodata Corp., combined sales of new vehicles by all automakers operating in the United States in the six months rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier to 8,412,389 vehicles, reflecting a robust U.S. economy.

But in June, new car and truck sales dipped 2 percent from a year before to 1,447,808 vehicles, marking a first decline in five months.

Sales of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. decreased 15.1 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively, in the month.

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