Mitsubishi has confirmed that it will stop producing vehicles at its only North American plant, a facility located in Normal, Ill.
"Following a review of Mitsubishi Motor Corporation’s global supply chain, we have been informed it is necessary to end production and seek a strategic buyer for the Normal plant," Mitsubishi said in a statement released today.
The decision comes after Mitsubishi experienced a spike in U.S. sales of the Outlander Sport, which is made at the Normal plant. The crossover is up 17 percent during the first half of the year to become Mitsubishi's best-selling model here. Overall U.S. sales for Mitsubishi have jumped 25 percent so far this year.
Although Mitsubishi is ending North American production, the company emphasizes it is still committed to selling cars here. All current and planned models will continue to be sold at dealerships throughout the U.S., Mitsubishi says.
Japan's Nikkei news service reported that the decision to end U.S. production comes as the company shifts its focus towards growing Asian markets. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi is currently negotiating with labor representatives to keep the 918 UAW-backed workers at the Normal plant employed. Mitsubishi says that the Normal plant contributes $120 million a year to the surrounding economy.
Source: Mitsubishi, Reuters