Mitsubishi's been having a rough time of it lately here in the United States. Last year, sales fell 44.8 percent. Ouch. Even worse, Mitsu's lone U.S. manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois is way under capacity. How far under? Well, the Normal plant's website lists its capacity at 135,000 vehicles per year. Only thing is, back when that plant was a joint Chrysler/Mitsubishi venture it could pop out 240,000 cars per year. Last year, Normal made just 18,501 vehicles.
As you might imagine, Mitsubishi's uncertain as to whether the Normal plant will remain open. One solution might be to introduce and build their Triton pickup truck in the U.S.. America's been sorely lacking in the small pickup market for the last 15 years or so, and the Triton would be a welcome player to the segment.
Only thing is, because of the notorious chicken tax, Mitsubishi would need to build about 50,000 to 60,000 Tritons a year at the Normal plant to make the endeavor worthwhile. Last year's 44.8 percent drop in business meant that Mitsubishi only sold 53,986 cars and trucks last year. Anyone else sense a problem? Even if Mitsubishi's sales rebound over the 100,000 unit mark, it's doubtful that 50 to 60 percent of that total would be a small pickup truck, especially as Mitsubishi's mid-size truck, the Raider, was quietly discontinued last year.
[Source: Ward's Auto]