Mitsubishi wants to halt U.S. Galant production, switch to small cars for export

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

Mitsubishi has a plant in Normal, Illinois that's capable of churning out 240,000 vehicles per year, if the demand is there. Currently, the plant produces the Galant, Eclipse and Endeavor CUV, a model mix that doesn't even spur enough excitement to drive the plant to its 100,000 vehicle per year break even point. Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko would like to shuffle the models produced in Normal, focusing less on the Galant and producing more cars for global sale. For instance, vehicles like the Lancer or Outlander could be built in the Illinois plant instead of the Galant. Since those vehicles are offered worldwide, the hope is that building them in the U.S. for export to other markets would bump the plant's volume past 100,000 vehicles per year on the strength of demand elsewhere. Mitsubishi has only been able to sell 80,000 vehicles in the U.S. this year, and Masuko wants more small cars to meet growing consumer desire for fuel sippers. One thing seems certain is that the Normal plant won't be idled, having just been given a four-year extension with a UAW labor deal.

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[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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