In September, Big Motor held its second round of discussions with a group of banks. There, the company announced that it would seek to restructure its operations by selecting a sponsor and receiving financial assistance by the end of October. Orix and several other companies are said to be among the candidates, and some stores were reportedly telling employees early on that a sponsor had been selected. A current employee in his 20s who works at a store in western Japan revealed.
My boss told me, ‘The sponsor has been decided, so you can work without any worries. The company name is scheduled to be changed on April 1 next year. I took the trouble to call the employees who were absent from work that day to tell them. However, it seems that not all stores were notified of this story at the same time. Some stores were told, some were not told at all, and some were only informed of the company name change, etc. I don’t know what the standard is, but the details seem to have varied. It may be different from store to store. ORIX was the only sponsor with a proper name.”
In early October, newspapers reported that ORIX had emerged as a potential sponsor, but several weeks passed without any clear information. As the deadline of the end of October promised by Big Motor approached, information about the sponsor company began to arrive to this writer.
ORIX has not yet made a decision,” he said.
There is also information that a trading company is interested.
A foreign company is interested.
On October 27, the author received information that the number of sponsors had been narrowed down to three. ORIX was certainly one of them. What are these three companies?
2: Company A, a major used car sales company in the same industry
3: Company B, a foreign mail-order company
The three companies were 1: ORIX There were also a major wholesale company that buys used games and other items, and another used car sales company, but these three companies were chosen as the final candidates.
Various candidates are being discussed for a new sponsor. However, a Big Motor official said, “If possible, we would like to ask a company that has nothing to do with the automobile industry.
A similar used car dealership becoming a sponsor is not desirable,” said a Big Motor official. This is because Company A has a large number of people who have changed jobs from Big Motor. It is possible that the same sales techniques and overcharging for repairs that they learned at Big Motor may be used at their new employers. It is said that both salespeople and mechanics have low awareness of compliance. After all, it would be meaningless if the same thing happened again. I think it would work better if a company that is neither in the used car industry nor in the automotive industry were to become a sponsor.”
With this background, Big Motor itself is taking a cautious stance toward Company A. If that is the case, then the only two remaining parties are ORIX or Company B. ORIX has a long history in the automotive industry, especially in the car leasing industry.
ORIX is the largest company in the automobile industry, particularly in car leasing, and next year will mark the 40th anniversary of its car leasing business for individuals, which began in 1984. It would not be surprising if the company aims to expand its business as the new Big Motor before this milestone year.
Company B is a major foreign mail-order company headquartered in the United States with operations around the world. Although the purpose of B Corp.’s support is not yet clear, it may be that the company intends to close down Big Motor’s 250 nationwide stores and use them as distribution centers for the mail-order company. The company’s corporate image is also clean, as far as the author knows. As far as the author knows, the company’s corporate image is clean. This could be a surprisingly good choice to revamp Big Motor’s tarnished image and open new doors.
On October 27, Big Motor President Shinji Izumi (54), Vice President Mitsukuni Ishibashi (45), and others held their third meeting with the bankers. The meeting began at 2:00 p.m. and ended after 5:00 p.m. President Izumi and Vice President Ishibashi got into the new Alphard with exhausted expressions on their faces and left the venue in silence.
There is not much time left until the promised end of October, but a source with knowledge of the situation said, “I don’t think today’s negotiations will be enough to make a decision. Deloitte’s calculations haven’t been made yet.
Big Motor had intended to go down the road of self-restructuring, but after Deloitte Tohmatsu was brought in by the bankers to consult on the matter, it decided to go down the road of receiving sponsor support instead of self-restructuring. It is true that it is taking time, but that is because the administrative action by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and compensation for the street tree issue have not yet been fully decided. Under the current circumstances, Deloitte is unable to make any calculations. Once the various calculations are completed, the selection of a sponsor will proceed at once.
It is reported that several stores will close at the end of this month, including the North Main Store (Saitama Prefecture), Hirai Store (Ehime Prefecture), and Kahoku Store (Ishikawa Prefecture). In addition, administrative measures by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, such as the revocation of the designation of designated factories and suspension of business (for a limited period of time), will soon begin to have a full-scale impact. Which company will Big Motor choose as its new partner?
Interview and text by： Kumiko Kato PHOTO： Shinji Hasuo