Mitsubishi to stop work at Illinois plant, find buyer

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NORMAL, Ill. — Mitsubishi Motors says it plans to stop U.S. production at its facility in central Illinois and sell the plant.

Dan Irvin, the company’s North American spokesman, said Friday that the Japanese automaker reviewed its global supply chain and decided it was necessary to end production at the plant and find a buyer.

The plant in Normal employs more than 1,200 workers. Irvin says Mitsubishi’s board will make a formal decision soon and hopes to find a buyer who’ll maintain employment.

The plant’s annual production has fallen from more than 200,000 vehicles in 2002, to 64,000 vehicles.

The announcement follows Japanese media reports that Mitsubishi wants to focus on Asian markets.

The company sold only 82,000 vehicles in the U.S. last year, less than one percent of the total market.