After producing millions of Mitsubishi and Chrysler-branded cars over several decades, the workers at the Mitsubishi Motors North America factory in Normal, Illinois will not get a new contract with Mitsubishi when their current deal expires, and the company will be selling off the plant. That means they could be out of work, and the future of Mitsubishi in the US may be in jeopardy.
“Following a review of Mitsubishi Motor Corporation’s global supply chain,” says the company, in a written statement, “we have been informed it is necessary to end production and seek a strategic buyer for the Normal plant … MMC’s Board will make a formal decision in the near future and our focus right now is to identify a buyer who would continue to operate and maintain employment—the best potential outcome for our employees and the community.”
Selling a US factory with a strong union history might be a tall order for Mitsubishi. So far, they’re the only foreign-owned automaker to have a UAW contract at all- a fact I learned when I toured the factory back in 2014, as part of my review of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SUV.
Despite the impending sale/closing of the Normal, IL factory, however, Mitsubishi’s future seems brighter than it has been in recent years. The larger Outlander PHEV is a hot seller, as is the Outlander Sport. At the same time, the made-in-Thailand Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact is finding buyers and growing the brand’s presence in North America considerably.
So, bad news for Mitsubishi employees in Illinois- but maybe not horrible news for Mitsubishi fans as a whole. Worst case: we’ll have yet another ex-UAW factory for Elio Motors to not build cars in.
Source: Mitsubishi, via CarNewsCafe.