Mitsubishi to shutter US factory?

Mitsubishi to shutter US factory?

Mitsubishi is reportedly preparing to shutter its US manufacturing operations.

The company will end production at its only US factory, located in Normal, Illinois, and put the facility up for sale, according to a Nikkei report.

US sales have been strong for the Japanese automaker so far this year, with deliveries up by approximately 25 percent to 49,544 units during the first half. Despite the upswing, the Illinois plant is said to have been running at only half of its 120,000-unit capacity in 2014.

Mitsubishi was building well over 200,000 units at the plant in the early 2000s, when the Eclipse and Galant were rolling off the assembly line beside the Chrysler Sebring coupe and Dodge Stratus coupe. The company’s US market share has since fallen, and the factory now builds only the Outlander Sport.

The strong US dollar and comparatively weak yen could also be factors in a US production pullout, giving Japanese automakers a profit incentive to build vehicles at home.

Mitsubishi’s current US labor contract, which includes a no layoff clause, is due to expire in August. The Nikkei report suggests the company plans to maintain employment for factory workers, despite ceasing production.

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