Mitsubishi’s Illinois plant in the US was under evaluation earlier this year for a shut down due to low-volume production. The company has now come to a decision to cease U.S. production of the its vehicles, suggests a report from Nikkei.
The Illinois plant was opened in 1988 as a joint venture with Chrysler when both companies were in a partnership under the name Diamond-Star Motors. Currently the plant is owned 100% by Mitsubishi.
According to the report, the Illinois plant rolled out just 64,000 units in 2014, 56,000 or 47% less than its annual capacity of 120,000. Poor sales in the continent and a strong US Dollar value have made manufacturing not feasible any longer. Except the Outlander Sport, all remaining models – Outlander Sport, Lancer, Lancer Evolution (soon to be axed), i-MiEV and Mirage – are imported.
The company has managed to sell 17,893 units of the Outlander Sport in the US till June and even if sales double, it still won’t justify local production as export markets also don’t have a strong demand for it.
It seems like almost its entire line-up of passenger vehicles will be exported to North America, Europe and Australia from Japan. Meanwhile, the Thai plant will be of high importance for sub-compact & compact low-cost passenger vehicles, and commercial vehicles. The Outlander Sport though, could be imported for North America from the Brazilian plant for now.