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Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Monday it incurred a group net loss of ¥54.88 billion in business 2008 due to a plunge in sales, the higher yen and an appraisal loss stemming from devalued production and sales facilities in Japan and the United States.

In an earnings statement for the 12-month period to March 31, the automaker said its pretax balance sank into the red with a loss of ¥14.93 billion, against the previous year’s ¥85.73 billion profit, on a 26.4 percent dive in sales to ¥1.97 trillion.

On a quantity basis, worldwide sales plummeted 22 percent to 1.066 million units, with sales in Japan sagging 23 percent to 168,000 units and in North America dropping 26 percent to 119,000 units. Sales in Europe plunged 20 percent to 272,000 units.

MMC said its pretax balance took a serious blow from one-off losses such as a ¥22.5 billion appraisal loss stemming from devalued production assets at Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. under asset value impairment accounting rules.

It also booked a loss of ¥8.8 billion associated with the payouts of early retirement allowances to workers at the U.S. production base and other business bases.

Looking ahead, the automaker said it expects the net balance for business 2009 to swing back to the black at ¥5 billion, with its pretax profit coming to ¥15 billion on projected sales of ¥1.5 trillion.

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