Call it a sign of the times - Mitsubishi is about to close its Mitsubishi Research and Design of America (MRDA) campus in Cypress, California. While the closure affects "only" 60 employees, it seems to be one more step out the American door for this Japanese automaker. Moe Durand, a spokesman for Mitsubishi Motors North America said, "it's a reflection of what is going on in the auto industry right now and the economy as a whole." He added that all design work will now be handled in Japan.

The Cypress campus was perhaps best known for designing the current Eclipse and Spyder, but hasn't had much to do since then. It was established in 2000 when Mitsubishi thought it would be a good idea to open an American design house to develop America-specific models. The late, not-so-great Raider was one of them, along with the Galant, Endeavor and the aforementioned Eclipse and Spyder. Thus ends Project America. Sadly, we can all but confirm that the Double Shotz MRDA concept will never make it to production now.

Thankfully, Mitsubishi will at least retain its small office for design in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they are doing research and testing on their upcoming i MiEV electric vehicle. Thanks to everyone for the tips!

[Source: NY Times]