If a buyer is not found for Mitsubishi’s plant in North America by November, it will be shut down and tooling will be shipped back to Japan. A source said that there are no solid leads but it does have several candidates, which include at least one automaker from Detroit.
This facility in Normal, Ill., offers a superb quick fix for automakers that are looking for a low-cost incremental capacity increase quickly. He said that this factory has a small capacity and is “very cheap.” Mitsubishi released a statement last Friday for its dealers and employees, saying that beginning in November, it will wind down its under-used plant if it doesn’t get a buyer.
The automaker said that it prefers a buyer in the auto industry but it will consider every bid it receives. The factory has been struggling for a long time but it got worse because of the Russian recession, according to the company.
Because of declining exports, it became unviable to have production facilities in both Japan and the U.S. It also said that under its current circumstances, it has become impractical to separate the production between the plants in Japan and North America.
The automaker added that it is because of these reasons that it has decided to consolidate production in its facilities in Japan where there’s capacity to fill the U.S. demand. The insider said that the tooling for the 2016 model year Outlander Sport will begin to be transferred to its Okazaki plant.
The company has begun prototype testing of the facelifted 2016 Outlander Sport, which was expected to have its production in Normal. This model’s frontend is getting an extensive refreshing along the lines of how the reworked Outlander SUV has changed its looks.
The source also said that the company is still committed to sell cars in the U.S. In fact, it is planning to offer a sedan version of the Mirage compact hatchback to the U.S. next spring. Within a year, the Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid SUV will arrive. It will be followed by the next-generation Outlander Sport.
In the company’s statement to dealers, it said that its departure from Normal is due to its situation, including low production volume, not enough sales in the U.S., and the loss of the export market in Russia, which led to its status now as “one of the smallest mass-brand auto production plant in North America.” He added that leaving Normal wasn’t easy but it became “necessary” to do this year.