It expects to end production at the 2.4 million-square-foot plant – the equivalent of 50 football fields – by the end of November.
“At a time when a growing number of auto manufacturers are seeking to expand production capacity in the U.S., we believe the Normal plant and its world-class workforce will be appealing to potential buyers”, McInroy said in the statement.
Japanese automaker Mitsubishi says it will stop making vehicles in the United States and is looking to sell its underused Illinois plant. The contract with UAW members expires next month.
Aikawa said on Monday he thought finding a buyer for the plant would be relatively easy because demand for cars in the buoyant U.S. market was strong. The sport utility vehicle is the only auto it has been producing there.
The company’s board of directors will sign off on the plan on Thursday. Using expressive exterior design and an eye-catching advertising campaign, Mitsubishi aims to attract individualistic buyers who wish to avoid owning the same crossovers as their neighbors do. That means they could be out of work, and the future of Mitsubishi in the US may be in jeopardy.
Production at the U.S. plant, which opened in 1988 as a joint venture with Chrysler Corp., fell to as low as 18,500 units a year in 2009 from a peak of 222,000 units in 2000 due to the economic crisis and the end of supplying Chrysler. But Karl Brauer, a senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, also said that given Mitsubishi’s the financial straits over the past decade, he doubts the company has invested much in technology to bring the plant up to date. “But Mitsubishi wasn’t setting sales records like other Japanese automakers such as Toyota and Honda”.
Mitsubishi may be on the brink of closing its only US production facility, with the carmaker preparing to put the plant on the market.
The company sold only 82,000 vehicles in the U.S. last year, less than one percent of the total market.
One thing that’s for sure: automobile production is faring better than the infrastructure that is expected to support all those vehicles hitting the roads.