updated 11/14/2005 8:16:25 AM ET 2005-11-14T13:16:25

Just three days after it bought a chunk of Mitsubishi Motors, U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. dumped most of its stake in the troubled Japanese automaker, a spokesman from the car company said Monday.

On Friday, Goldman Sachs bought a 12.4 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors from DaimlerChrysler AG for an unspecified amount.

By Monday, it had sold all but 1.04 percent of Japan's fourth-largest carmaker, a Mitsubishi Motors spokesman said on condition of anonymity, due to corporate policy.

News of the sale sent Mitsubishi Motors shares down 12.37 percent to 262 yen ($2.23) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Goldman Sachs notified the Tokyo-based automaker Monday that its London-based Goldman Sachs International Ltd. had sold 548.152 million shares for an undisclosed price, the spokesman said.

Names of buyers in the latest transaction were not disclosed, he said.

Kyodo News agency said Goldman Sachs is believed to have sold the shares to a number of institutional investors in Japan and abroad in small lots since Mitsubishi Motors reported to other change in the major shareholders' list.

Mitsubishi Motors has seen its sales in Japan plummet after acknowledging five years ago that it had systematically hidden auto defects for more than two decades to avoid recalls.

Mitsubishi Motors' lone North American assembly plant is in Normal, Ill. It employs nearly 2,000 hourly workers who build the Eclipse coupe, Galant sedan, Endeavor sport utility vehicle and, beginning next spring, a redesigned Spyder convertible.

DaimerChrysler once held 37 percent of Mitsubishi Motors as part of its goal to become a global auto powerhouse, but the company decided last year against pumping more money into the troubled Japanese automaker. The German-American car maker still remains the top shareholder in Mitsubishi's former truck unit.

Mitsubishi Motors has been getting financial bailouts from the Mitsubishi group of companies, including a bank, heavy machinery maker and trading company, after DaimlerChrysler withdrew its financial backing last year.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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