Mitsubishi doesn’t plan to replace chief supply executive, who just retired

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 10, 2010

On Sept. 1, Sandra Gillespie, senior vice president of procurement and supply for Mitsubishi Motors North America's manufacturing unit, retired due to personal reasons.

The 56-year-old Gillespie joined Mitsubishi in 1989. Mitsubishi spokesman Dan Irvin said that the company isn’t planning to replace Gillespie, whose responsibilities have been assumed by other US supply chain personnel.

Gillespie's retirement takes place during a crucial period for Mitsubishi's US manufacturing operations. It’s believed that Mitsubishi executives will soon announce a new product or vehicle platform to be produced at its Normal, Ill., assembly plant by the end of 2010.

The Automotive News Data Center said that the plant produced 19,309 vehicles this year through Sept. 4, far below its 200,000-unit annual capacity.

This plant builds the Galant sedan, Endeavor SUV, Eclipse coupe and Eclipse Spyder that are all based on its aging “PS” vehicle platform. These models had previously been the bread-and-butter of Mitsubishi's US vehicle lineup.

However, sales have dropped sharply in recent years as the models aged. Mitsubishi was unable to meet a Sept. 1 contractual deadline to assign a new product to the plant under the terms of its 2008 collective bargaining agreement with UAW-represented workers at the plant.

Mitsubishi proposed to extend the new product deadline but in late August, the UAW workers at the plant voted it down. Because of this, Mitsubishi raised the base wage of workers at the plant from $24 to about $25.60 per hour. [via autonews - sub. required]

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