Mitsubishi Motors adds export model to Illinois plant
TOKYO (Reuters) -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said today it launched production of the Outlander Sport compact sport utility vehicle at its Normal, Ill., factory in a move that will eventually double output and turn the plant into an export hub.
The Japanese automaker, in a statement, said it expects to lift the factory's output to 50,000 vehicles in the first year, or up 60 percent from the 31,000 produced last year, with the global Outlander Sport model joining the Galant, Endeavor and other vehicles designed specifically for North America, a spokesman said.
Half of the plant's total output would be exported to markets such as Russia, Latin America and the Middle East, he said.
The 2013 Outlander is due at U.S. dealerships in early August, the company said.
Mitsubishi Motors expects annual production to eventually ramp up to 70,000 vehicles, or 100 percent of capacity with the factory's current work force. At its peak, the Illinois plant had capacity to build 200,000 vehicles a year on two lines.
Mitsubishi Motors has been struggling with dwindling sales in developed markets, and last week announced the sale of its NedCar factory in the Netherlands to local bus maker VDL Group for 1 euro.Contact Automotive News