TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has ended a two-month contract with AlixPartners LLC, a U.S. turnaround expert.
In an interview here last week, Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko said AlixPartners helped the troubled automaker to select a new president and map out a sales plan.
The Southfield, Mich., firm worked in January and February for Mitsubishi.
In January, Mitsubishi promoted Rich Gilligan, former head of the company's manufacturing plant in Normal, Ill., to president of Mitsubishi Motors North America after Finbarr O'Neill left the auto company.
To provide further support to U.S. operations, the parent company in February named Hideyasu Tagaya, its former president, as chairman in North America.
Masuko, named president of the parent company in January, said he was committed to the U.S. operations. He said the company would not close the Normal plant.
"We have no discussions about the closure of the plant, and we'll continue production in the United States," he said.
The company's public relations staff also denied rumors that Mitsubishi would sell the plant.
In the fiscal year that will end March 31, 2007, Mitsubishi aims to raise output at the plant to full capacity of about 130,000. It dropped from two shifts to one in October and is producing at an annual rate of about 80,000.
That plan will require that the redesigned Eclipse two-door hatchback, due in April, sell well. Production of the old Eclipse stopped in December.
Mitsubishi plans to sell as many as 35,000 Eclipses a year in the United States. Last year, Mitsubishi sold 12,012 Eclipses, excluding the Eclipse Spyder convertible, down 56.9 percent from 2003.
Mitsubishi also plans to export the Galant sedan to such areas as the Middle East, starting in June 2006.
The Normal plant assembles the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder, Galant and Endeavor SUV.
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