Mitsubishi to double annual production at Illinois plant to 70,000 units

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 20, 2012

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. intends to increase its production by 100% at its vehicle plant in Illinois to 70,000 units annually, according to the report of Japanese business daily Nikkei. The automaker's subsidiary in the United States -- Mitsubishi Motors North America -- will halt the production of automobiles exclusively for the North American market.

Instead, it will center on the production and export of the Outlander Sport SUV this summer, the newspaper reported. Currently, the facility of Mitsubishi in Normal, Ill., manufactures the Galant mid-sized sedan, which is anticipated to end before the Outlander output starts this summer.

The automaker views Russia, Latin America and other regions where exports can be denominated in dollars as primary destinations for the SUV, the newspaper disclosed.

According to Nikkei, the automaker's plan to begin manufacturing the compact SUV at the Illinois facility is a move to increase capacity, which has taken a hit because of the slow sales.

With the vehicle market changing to developing nations, the factories of Mitsubishi in emerging nations like Thailand are at full capacity.

Meanwhile, production at facilities in Europe and the United States has slowed down, the newspaper noted. In February, the automaker decided to recuperate European production at the end of this year, according to Nikkei.

The automaker's sales in the U.S. climbed 42% in 2011 to 79,020 units. However, they have declined 25% this year through February to 9,447 units. Meanwhile, overall U.S. light-vehicle market has improved by 14 percent.

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