Japan, SouthEast Asia and Russia have been turned into primary focus targets by Mitsubishi Motors following the announced retreat from US production, according to the company’s president.
The regions will be turned into the carmaker’s manufacturing hubs after it has decided to cease US automotive production because of sliding output in the world’s second largest auto market. “Japan, ASEAN (countries), and Russia will be the main points of production for our company,” said Tetsuro Aikawa, President and Chief Operating Officer of Japan’s sixth largest carmaker. Aikawa made the comments during a news conference on Monday that also confirmed the company’s plans to cease production at its lonely North American factory in Normal, Illinois, and deliver models to the US market from plants in Japan and Thailand. The investors seemed to favor the decision, with sales rising more than five percent. The strategy modification also comes amid increased production focus in Southeast Asia, where its pickup trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are highly sought after. The carmaker also builds cars in Thailand and the Philippines, and announced back in February it would build a new manufacturing facility in Indonesia to produce sport utility vehicles.
Aikawa added the move to end production at the US factory that started operations back in 1988 was mostly prompted by dwindling output rather than favorable exchange rates that made exports from Japan very cheap. When it peaked its production cycle, the factory in Normal was churning out 200,000 units per year, but in 2014 that total slid to 69,178 Outlander sport utility vehicles.