Embattled Mitsubishi Motors Corp. received a combined 200 billion yen ($US1.83 billion) in aid from JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Phoenix Capital on Thursday, bringing its total rescue package to 496 billion yen ($4.53 billion), Reuters said.

Phoenix Capital, a Tokyo investment fund with close ties to the Mitsubishi group, reportedly paid 74 billion yen ($677 million) to buy common stock for 100 yen ($91) each – that compared with a maximum 100 billion yen ($914 million) promised.

Reuters said investment bank JP Morgan took 126 billion yen ($1.15 billion) in convertible preferred shares, which do not carry voting rights, against the original plan of 100 billion yen ($914 million).

The purchase amounts were in line with media reports, the news agency noted.

“MMC has raised new capital of 496 billion yen, which is 46 billion yen more than the recapitalisation measures set out in the company’s revitalisation plan announced on May 21,” Japan’s fourth-largest automaker reportedly said in a statement. “MMC now has the financial base to vigorously implement its plan.”

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Reuters noted that the final package, however, fell short of the maximum 546 billion yen ($4.99 billion) that Mitsubishi had said it could gather at the end of June, after it won shareholder approval to issue up to 150 billion yen ($1.37 billion) of shares to JP Morgan instead of 100 billion yen ($914 million).

With the share issue, scheduled for Friday, DaimlerChrysler’s stake will fall to 24.66% [from 37%], while Phoenix Capital will become Mitsubishi’s biggest shareholder with 33.28% – just short of the one-third required for a controlling stake, the report added.

Mitsubishi group companies would have a combined 23.11%, Reuters said.

While the rescue package takes Mitsubishi out of any immediate danger, industry watchers told the news agency its long-term prospects remained bleak.

“It’s all about product at the end of the day,” Marc Desmidt, director of the equities fund management team at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, told Reuters. “For Mitsubishi, that’s an uphill struggle because it means a combination of regaining trust and producing attractive, value-for-money products.”

Reuters noted that Mitsubishi has promised to return to profit in the business year starting in April through a restructuring that would see it close a plant in Japan and cut its non-factory workforce by 30%, among other cost-cutting measures, but the road to recovery has become rockier as consumer distrust in its brand deepens, fanned by bad publicity involving quality and ethical problems, mostly at Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., which Mitsubishi spun off in 2003.

Revelations that Mitsubishi and its unlisted truck affiliate had been hiding defects to prevent official product recalls sank Mitsubishi’s car sales in Japan by 64% in June, while sales in the United States slid 48%, the news agency said, adding that the scandal prompted the government to reject Mitsubishi’s application two days ago to use a corporate revitalisation law that would allow it to pay lower taxes on the issuance of new shares – the application was accepted on Wednesday.

Reuters noted that Mitsubishi earlier secured 286 billion yen ($2.61 billion) in aid from sister companies in the Mitsubishi group including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corp., and 10 billion yen $91 million) from China Motor Corp, while, on Thursday, Nippon Oil Corp., another Mitsubishi group company, also paid 1 billion yen ($9 million) for new preferred shares.