The Japanese automaker confirmed this week it did not find a buyer for its US auto plant, therefore it is forced to close the Illinois factory.
Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported this week that Mitsubishi Motors did not manage to find a buyer for its sole production plant in the United Stated, despite its efforts into this direction. After the paper’s disclosure, the Japanese automaker confirmed the information. “We have given up looking for an automaker to buy the plant, but we are looking for possible buyers from other industries,” a company spokesman said. Therefore, the Illinois factory will be shut down, mainly because Mitsubishi registered low sales volumes in North America, forcing the automaker to cut costs. Likewise, the strong US dollar had a massive impact on returns.
Nikkei’s report also claims that Mitsubishi Motors expected to book a big loss of between 20 billion yen and 30 billion yen (around 170 million dollars to 255 million dollars) in the fiscal year ending in March because of costs related to the closure. The production line stopped building vehicles in November and 1,000 employees were made redundant. The automaker said the plant would continue to make car parts until the end of May.
The Normal plant in Illinois, formerly a joint manufacturing venture with Chrysler, has built more than 3.2 million Mitsubishi and Chrysler models since 1988. It had a production capacity of 120,000 cars and in 2014 the plant manufactured fewer than 70,000 cars, all of them Outlander Sport crossovers.