Mitsubishi Motors Corporation launched production of its 2013 Outlander Sport model in the U.S. market, investing $45 million to retool its Normal, Ill. facility to begin production of its new Outlander Sport Crossover Utility Vehicle, which was previously produced in Japan.
"Illinois' automobile industry has seen tremendous growth over the last few years," Governor Pat Quinn said. "Mitsubishi Motors had a choice and they chose Illinois as the place to build their new Outlander Sport. That's because our state is a great place to invest and grow, and our workers are the best in the world."
The Outlander Sport is built upon the same highly flexible vehicle platform used for the Lancer compact car and Outlander SUV, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said. Early last year, Mitsubishi announced production of the new vehicle would be a part of the corporation's global strategy and would significantly increase production at the Normal facility. Sales of the Outlander Sport, which recently received "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, are already up 13 percent compared to this time last year, the company said.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation President Osamu Masuko noted that bringing production of the Outlander Sport, previously built in Japan, to the Normal plant, located on CR 1100 East, west of Bloomington, Ill., reinforces MMC's commitment to the U.S. market.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Managing Director in charge of global production Tetsuro Aikawa estimated that about half of the Outlander Sports produced will be exported. "We will build vehicles here not just for the United States, but for many nations around the world," he said. "This is the chance for employees at the Normal plant to prove that its quality and productivity are competitive in the global automobile market."
Last year, Governor Quinn said the firm would receive a targeted investment package to support its expansion and enabled the automaker to keep 1,200 jobs at its Normal plant. The state investment consists of Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credits, which are based on job-creation, and Employer Training Investment Program job-training funds. Mitsubishi is also located in an Enterprise Zone which provides a series of tax incentives.