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Mitsubishi Abandoning Illinois Assembly Plant, Cutting More than 900 Jobs

Long-troubled Japanese maker says it remains committed to American market.

by on Jul.24, 2015

Mitsubishi announced it will close is manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois, eliminating 900 jobs.

A day after the first reports surfaced on Japanese media, Mitsubishi Motors has confirmed it will shutter its aging and underutilized assembly plant in Normal, Illinois, a move that will cost more than 900 jobs.

That follows a failed effort to find effort to find a partner to share production at the facility that originally opened as part of a joint venture with Chrysler. But Mitsubishi officials stressed they plan to continue selling vehicles in the U.S. and point to a recent upturn in demand.

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“Following a review of Mitsubishi Motor Corp.’s global supply chain, we have been informed it is necessary to end production and seek a strategic buyer for the Normal plant,” announced the maker’s U.S. subsidiary, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, in a prepared statement. (more…)

Mitsubishi Reportedly Abandoning US Assembly Plant

Will long-troubled Japanese maker walk away from the US Entirely?

by on Jul.24, 2015

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is meant to help the Japanese maker regain ground in the U.S. market.

After failing to find a new manufacturing partner, long-struggling Mitsubishi Motors reportedly will abandon its assembly plant in Normal, Illinois – a move that raises questions about the maker’s longer-term commitment to the U.S. market.

The Japanese maker is said to be making a strategic shift in focus to the Asian market, according to a report in Japan’s Nikkei news service. But the move comes as little surprise to those familiar with the Illinois operation. It has been operating for years at well under its production capacity, running up millions of dollars in annual losses.

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“We have no statement at this time,” said Alex Fedorak, senior spokesman for Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, or MMSA.

The mayor of the southern Illinois community, Chris Koo, said, meanwhile, that he has “heard nothing” from the automaker on any change in plan. Nor had Kyle Young, the vice president of United Auto Workers Union Local 2488, which represents the 918 workers at the factory.

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Milestones: Mitsubishi Three Millionth Car Produced

Twenty Five Years of UAW production in Normal, Illinois.

by on Nov.13, 2009

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"It’s really about the people, it’s not about the vehicle," the local UAW president said.

About 800 employees cheered the three millionth car assembled at Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) as a rally red 2010 Eclipse GT was driven off the assembly line in Normal, Illinois recently.

The Eclipse was destined for a dealership somewhere in the Midwest, and was not retained for historical purposes.

The plant started assembling cars in September 1988 as a joint venture between Chrysler Corporation and MMNA, which now fully owns the plant.

MMNA president & CEO Shin Kurihara congratulated employees on their accomplishment and shared memories of his visit to the site of the then-future assembly plant when he visited the vacant field in 1985. “How could I have imagined that I would be here as President almost 25 years and three million vehicles later,” he said.

UAW Local 2488 President Ralph Timan expressed thanks and congratulations to the union’s membership and MMNA. “It’s really about the people, it’s not about the vehicle,” Timan said. “It’s the commitment we’ve made to facility and the car is just a symbol of that. It’s a marker of that continued commitment.”

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