Will a complete market pull out be next?
Despite improving US market sales, Mitsubishi has just announced that it will be closing its only production facility in North America. Automotive News is reporting that, according to Japan's Nikkei news service, production will end at the Normal, Illinois facility. The decision's timing is surely related to the fact that the union contract with the plant's 918 workers will expire in August. For the record, this is (well, was) the only Japanese automaker production plant in the US with UAW representation.
Local officials, including the town's mayor and vice president of UAW Local 2488, "haven't heard anything" yet from Mitsubishi. For now, "it's business as usual here – we're pumping out cars." The facility primarily builds the Outlander Sport, nearly 70,000 last year alone. During its peak in the early 2000s, more than 200,000 cars a year were produced there. For the record, Mitsubishi's US sales jumped by 25 percent this year through June, partially fueled by a 17 percent increase in Outlander Sport deliveries. Mitsubishi has yet to officially comment on the plant's closure, only stating that it has "no plans to stop selling. We are concentrating on enhancing our selling the United States."