• Feb 4th 2011 at 1:31PM
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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mitsubishi has confirmed rumors that it will transfer production of at least one of its models from Japan to its American manufacturing site in Normal, IL. At this time, the only vehicle the automaker has officially confirmed for U.S. production is the Outlander Sport.

It's worth noting that the Outlander Sport shares a platform with the slightly larger Outlander and the Lancer sedan, so it certainly wouldn't be surprising if production of these models were moved Stateside as well. Mitsubishi estimates that about half of the models it builds in the States will be exported.

At present, the plant in Normal assembles the Galant, Endeavor and Eclipse, but these vehicles are scheduled to be phased out by 2013. About 1,000 of the automaker's 1,300 employees in North America are members of the United Auto Workers Union.

If you're interested in reading all the details straight from the source, you know where to look.

Photos copyright ©2011 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Mitsubishi]
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Mitsubishi Motors Announces Outlander Sport Will Be Built in Normal, Illinois Plant

Fri, Feb 04, 2011 - NORMAL, IL -

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) today announced that production of the Outlander Sport Crossover Utility vehicle will begin in mid-2012 at the Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) plant in Normal, Illinois.

An announcement ceremony at the plant this morning was attended by dignitaries including MMNA President Shinichi Kurihara, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn, and UAW International President Bob King. Prior to the media announcement, a separate event for all MMNA employees was held on the factory floor with the same dignitaries in attendance.

The Outlander Sport went on sale in North America in November of 2010. Outlander Sport is a very well-equipped entry-level crossover that offers desirable features such as standard Bluetooth, available 40 gigabyte hard drive navigation, and available all-wheel drive. Outside of the United States, Outlander Sport is also badged as RVR and ASX, and represents Mitsubishi Motors' latest offering to the globe's fastest growing automotive segment, entry-level crossover. The vehicle is built upon the same highly flexible vehicle platform that underpins the Lancer compact car and Outlander SUV which are sold globally. Mitsubishi Motors North America anticipates adding production of Outlander Sport by mid-2012. Kurihara added "With the new model, the plant will have better utilization, and, of course we will see improved efficiency when we eventually consolidate to one model with higher production volume. I fully expect this plant will strongly improve its performance further down the road".

President Kurihara noted that bringing production of the Outlander Sport, currently built in Japan, to the Normal plant reinforces MMC's commitment to the U.S. market. "Mitsubishi Motors remains fully committed to producing vehicles in Normal. We will build vehicles here not just for the United States, but for many nations around the world." Kurihara estimated that about half of the Outlanders produced will be exported.

Kurihara also expressed appreciation to the State of Illinois for approximately $29 million in EDGE Grant support over the next ten years. Governor Quinn expressed his pleasure at the ceremony. "Mitsubishi's decision to produce a new generation of automobile here in Illinois is a strong testament to the strength of our workforce and the state's appealing business climate," said Governor Quinn. "By working to stabilize our economy and investing in companies that are investing in Illinois, we're helping to keep thousands of jobs in Illinois, helping reinvigorate our automobile industry and continuing our economic recovery."

MMNA is the only Asian or European auto manufacturer currently partnering with the UAW. About 1,000 of MMNA's 1,300 employees are members of the UAW.

Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for all manufacturing, finance, sales, marketing, research and development operations for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States. MMNA sells coupes, convertibles, sedans, and sport utility vehicles through a network of approximately 400 dealers. For more information, contact the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at (888) 560-6672 or visit media.mitsubishicars.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mitsubishi will move production of the Outlander Sport to US because the worldwide demand for the car is very high & the US plant is running under capacity. By 2013 Galant & Eclipse will be updated Based on concept ZT & RA.
      • 4 Years Ago
      See? Diddling your currency can go both ways! (talking about QE2 here)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I was really hoping the Mitsubishi-Peugeot partnership would strengthen into an alliance, as Peugeot flirted with taking over a Mitsu production line in Normal and build cars bound for Latin and South America. I guess Mitsu has to go at it alone now, but at least they didn't bite the bullet and shut the plant down.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Evidently Mitsubishi didn't get the memo that if you are going to make any money you need to be in a right to work state. Perhaps they took over an old Chrysler plant? VW's American foray began at a castoff plant in Pennsylvania. FUBAR.

      Anyone want to bet that the Mitsubishi's Normal, Illinois plant will be shuttered by 2015? IL doesn't have the cash to pay a $100K per job to keep it open. As it is the plant is old by today's terms and needs to be scraped and rebuilt. If they have to that why not move it south at the same time?

      I don't mean to infer that all American non-union plants are successes but you have to look hard to find one that struggles. Even non-union workers can't save to terminally quirky (Nissan Quest).
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Perhaps they took over an old Chrysler plant?"

        Perhaps you should just look at the history of the DSM plant and answer your own question. The plant was built originally with Mitsubishi as a 50/50 Chrysler and always used UAW workers from day one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I looked at those this past week. Nicest looking Mitsu in my opinion. Under or at $20k too. Not too bad.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's normal I guess.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yup.I loved distinquished Mitsubishi style in 80s and 90s.
        I especially liked Pajero rally car and its concept as well as the lancer.
        Mitsubishi taught Hyundai and all Hyundais upto mid 90s were from Mitsubishi(just changed some parts.)
        Now Hyundai is growing higher than Mitsubishi lol.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is good for American Jobs
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the company wants to succeed they need to pump in a billion dollars to update all their US showrooms and hire the right sales people, no some jerk off the street.

      I'm glad they dumped all the models presently made in the Normal Ill plant, but they seriously need a really good looking sedan besides Lancers to become a more well rounded, more completive company.

      As far as the Mitsu Outlander Sport, a turbo is needed from their Lancer model without the price increase and it will sell 100x's more. If it performs better than the Rogue, I'll buy one the next time around.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How outlandish.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Japan = The Land of the Rising Yen
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mitsu's lame reuse of existing model names makes otherwise decent vehicles quite forgettable. I still couldn't tell you the difference between the Montero and Montero Sport. What's the point? It simply comes across as a different trim level of the same vehicle. And with the significantly underpowered motor here, it certainly isn't worth the "Sport" designation.

        • 4 Years Ago
        If you saw a Montero Sport and Montero side by side you could easily tell the difference. But they've both not been sold in this country for years, so what are you complaining about?
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