NORMAL, IL — The Central Illinois Mitsubishi Cooperative Purchasing Program is ready to start offering discounts up to nearly $5,200 on four types of vehicles to governments and some businesses with vehicle fleets, according to the Web site, "Mitsubishi is providing very attractive discounts," said Normal City Manager Mark Peterson. "These are quality vehicles ... with good reviews, good warranties," said Normal Mayor Chris Koos. "We're hoping governments and businesses in the area are enthusiastic and join in on it." Normal may be among the first to do that as part of a larger effort to boost production at the Mitsubishi Motors North America plant in town. Peterson said 260 information packets were mailed to local governments in an 18-county area — Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Marshall, McLean, Peoria, Piatt, Putnam, Stark, Tazewell, Vermilion and Woodford counties. The program, started by the Central Illinois Mitsubishi Task Force, will allow governments and qualifying businesses to purchase four types of 2005 Mitsubishi vehicles — the Galant, the Eclipse Coupe, the Endeavor sports utility vehicle, and the Eclipse Spyder — at discounts ranging from nearly $3,900 to more than $5,200. All vehicles must be purchased at O'Brien Mitsubishi in Normal. Koos created the task force in December to help the Normal Mitsubishi plant return to full production. The plant laid off 1,100 employees and cut back to one shift last year because of slumping car sales. "We don't think this program will turn the tide in auto sales, but it will demonstrate our confidence in the product and the company," Koos said, according to the Web site.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials