Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s U.S. subsidiary will stop building vehicles in the U.S., and will instead export its vehicles into the U.S. market from Japan and Thailand, where they are less expensive to build, the company has announced.
The company's Mitsubishi Motors North America plans to close its last U.S. plant in Normal, Ill., in November and seek a buyer for the facility. The Outlander Sport compact SUV that's now assembled at the plant will be shifted to Mitsubishi's plant in Okazaki, Japan.
Since 2012, Mitsubishi has been producing the Outlander Sport in Illinois and selling to the North American market, as well as exporting it for sale in Russia, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Production volume for Russia had accounted for more than 30 percent for the Outlander Sport until the second half of 2014, when Russia's economic crisis caused production volume to fall sharply. In 2013, Mitsubishi produced 70,000 Outlander Sport SUVs at the plant.
Mitsubishi has been producing vehicles at the Illinois plant since 1988, when it began a partnership with Chrysler called Diamond Star Motors that was later renamed as Mitsubishi Motors North America.
The subsidiary produced the Eclipse, Galant, Spider, and Endeavor between 1988 and 2012, and supplied vehicles to Chrysler until 2005. The subsidiary had bought Chrysler's ownership stake in 1991.