• Mar 6, 2009
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]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have been forced to rent their Spyder when a better convertible wasn't available. They suck. Buh bye!
      • 5 Years Ago
      While I feel sorry for the people who got laid off, Project America is what got Mitsubishi in total trouble here in USA, Mitsubishi Motors globally is doing mostly fine but US market is in total disarray. It all started with the 2004 Galant, 1999-2003 Galant was a good product, one of the best looking vehicles in its class, had adequate power (for the times) and Mitsubishi in its best year was selling like 80000 units per year. Mitsubishi just 8 years ago was selling over 300,000 vehicles per year in USA. The new Galant, Endeavor, Eclipse, Raider successfuly tarnished the cars image in USA, plus the marketing heads at Mitsu came out with the 0-0-0 financing for a while which again, put the company in a big hole.

      Looking at the designs made in USA and designs made in Japan/Germany, you can clearly see that Mitsubishi definitely can design good/attractive cars (Lancer/Outlander/Pajero/L200/Grandis), its just that their US operations suck. Partnership with Daimler didn't help with anything either. Good thing is that Mitsubishi Motors is a part of the large Mitsubishi conglomerate and has backing of Bank of Mitsubishi.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agree completely. The thing that sold many on Mitsu vehicles (myself included - 1998 Montero Sport) was that it was a Japanese brand, a good alternative to Toyota and Honda. When they tried to "Americanize" the product offerings, they all fell flat, and Mitsu's sales began their long slide.

        For Mitsu to continue in the US, they need to sell the same product here that they sell elsewhere in the world. There's no point building a line of vehicles that don't match your core brand everywhere else. It's not what the US consumer is looking for, anyway.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree, as I feel bad for those effected Project America has been a failure. Mitsubishi tried too hard to be "American" and lost what it was good at. The new Eclipse and Galant should do a 180 from their current state.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sometimes, I forget that Mitsubishi makes cars other than the Lancer Evolution.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mitsubishi needs to die. They could stick to making sub standard televisions.

      Of all the Japanese makes, except maybe Isuzu, Mitsubishi would go unmissed.

      • 5 Years Ago
      [roll eyes/]Yes, because Mitsu is fine in the design department. [roll eyes/]
      • 5 Years Ago
      Actually the MRDA design studio opened in 1984, not 2000. Many of Mitsubishi's best production and concept cars were developed there, dating all the way back to the rear drive Starion.
      MRDA and a few of it's enthusiastic designers were also the ones who started the Mitsubishi Owners Day (MOD) events, held every year since '05 in appreciation of it's owner fan base. I guess enthusiasm and loyalty only get you so far in today's financial climate.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I remember when the Eclipse first came out in model year 1990. All the youngsters wanted one. Then Mitsu also rolled the 3000GT, which won great reviews and looked better than its twin, Dodge Stealth. The Diamante sedan was also good looking and had a great interior.

      Somehow, Mitsubishi dropped the ball. Its downfall might become a Harvard Business School study project.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What you people don't realize is many car companies are closing shop in California and consolidating operations in other parts of the country. All these people are not necessarily getting thrown out on the streets.

      You can blame the state of California and their outrageous amount of taxes and regulations for killing off businesses there. Plus California is not the "end all be all" of the design world like it used to be so why pay top dollar to do business there?

        • 5 Years Ago
        because the weather doesnt make you want to kill yourself.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'll take Florida any day of the week over Commiefornia.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm, so much for the people who claim the fall of the American automakers will result in more American jobs from the Japanese manufacturers. Instead, they retreat home.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your comment is not relevant to the fact that Mitsubishi hasn't seen a return on their investment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This sucks, I know a couple people that this directly affects. Bummer to hear, but they're talented people and shouldn't have trouble finding work.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The Cypress campus was perhaps best known for designing the current Eclipse and Spyder,"

        Tell them that they need to commit seppuku for designing the butt-ugly Current-Gen Eclipse.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ummm, the guy I know designed the Concept RA, which is dead sexy, so how about you shut your mouth?
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