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Among Japanese automakers in the United States, Mitsubishi is largely relegated to "also ran status" alongside the likes of Subaru and Suzuki, and behind heavy-hitting rivals like Toyota, Honda and Nissan. The Diamond Star automaker will soon have a lineup consisting of only three model lines. But that wasn't always the case, and may not be again if the latest reports come to fruition.

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Mecum is set to auction off the very last Mitsubishi Eclipse ever produced at its Normal, Illinois plant.

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Mitsubishi Eclipse - Click above for high-res image gallery

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The good ol' Diamond Star Motors plant in Normal, Illinois – where such well-regarded vehicles as the original Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser were built, among others – is apparently getting a new lease on life now that Mitsubishi, the United Auto Workers and laborers at the plant have all approved of a new contract.

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Mitsubishi Eclipse – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Mitsubishi Galant

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click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder

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click either image for more shots of the updated 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse

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The next logical progression in removing unsprung weight will finally be made available to U.S. enthusiasts. Rennworx Ltd., a company that imports a variety of top dollar rims and parts, has agreed to bring Dymag's full lineup of custom carbon fiber rollers. Their products have found their way into the wheel arches of some top dollar machines, including Ascari, Mosler and Koenigsegg.

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Mitsubishi has thrown down the gauntlet. If dealers can't sell its new products like the Outlander and Lancer, the company may pull out of the United States completely. Mitsubishi's product boss, Shinichi Kurihara said as much at a press event, indicating that the company's recovery rides on the success of the vehicles. The company is down 16.5 percent to 36,536 units so far this year, and its Normal, Ill. plant employs just one shift. Predictably, dealers have responded by urging Mitsubish

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