CHICAGO, Illinois (February 10, 2000) - Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc. (MMSA) today announced that the next generation of its Montero Sport mid-size SUV, now built in Japan, will be manufactured in Normal, Illinois, at the facility currently producing the Mitsubishi Galant mid-size sedan, Eclipse sports coupe and Eclipse Spyder convertible.
The change in manufacturing location for the Montero Sport-successor begins in 2003 as the first phase of "Project America" - part of a more than $1 billion commitment by Mitsubishi Motors to plan, design, engineer and build core products in the United States. The platform for these vehicles - known as the "PA Series" -- will be an adaptable foundation to accommodate various power plants, suspension systems and drivetrains that specifically meet the needs of U.S. consumers.
"'Project America' takes platform adaptability to a new level," said Pierre Gagnon, executive vice president and chief operating officer for MMSA. "The future of Mitsubishi Motors in the U.S. will be boldly represented by vehicles that will be planned, designed, engineered and built here. It's a major commitment to our dealer body, to our customers and to our long-term viability in this market."
"The 2001 Eclipse Spyder convertible shown in Chicago today is a symbol of what we have accomplished," said Rich Gilligan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, Inc. (MMMA) in Normal, Illinois. "We look at the coming sport utility vehicle as a symbol of our potential. It demonstrates the commitment our parent company has for the North American market and the faith that MMC has in the people and the new direction that MMMA has taken."
Successors to Mitsubishi Motors' best selling U.S. products - Galant, Eclipse, and Montero Sport - will form the basis for the PA Series platform. This project will rely on Mitsubishi Motors' United States infrastructure, which includes engineering headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a design studio in Cypress, California - both part of Mitsubishi Research and Design America Inc. (MRDA) - and Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, Inc. (MMMA), in Normal, Illinois.
The next generation Montero Sport, due in 2003 as a 2004 model, will offer more room, crisper handling and a smoother ride. Through 2005, "Project America" will see the next generation Galant sedan, Eclipse sports coupe and Spyder convertible models being planned, designed and engineered by Mitsubishi Motors in the U.S. and built at the MMMA plant.
According to MMMA's Gilligan, the manufacturing facility spends nearly $1.5 billion annually on production parts in North America, while contributing approximately $300 million annually in taxes, salaries and benefits to Illinois' economy. In addition, the plant spends $144 million annually on non-production materials, two-thirds of which come from Illinois-based suppliers.
Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, Inc. began as a joint venture between Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and Chrysler Corporation in 1985. MMC purchased Chrysler's 50 percent share in 1991 and the plant became a wholly owned subsidiary of MMC, the Tokyo-based automaker. The 2.5 million square foot facility employs more than 3,100 people and has a production capacity of 240,000 vehicles annually.
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc. was established in 1982 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Tokyo, and markets a full line of vehicles, including coupes, convertibles, sedans and sport utility vehicles.