Mitsubishi Motors Reaches Milestone of 2 Million Vehicles
Assembled in U.S.
2001 Eclipse GT Is Symbol of Progress in 12 Years Of
Production at Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, Inc.
NORMAL, Ill., Feb. 1 More than 1,500 first-shift employees
cheered the two millionth car assembled at Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of
America, Inc. (MMMA) today as a 2001 silver Eclipse GT was driven off the
assembly line by MMMA President Hirao Iijima and International UAW
Representative Mark Haasis.
President Iijima told employees that all the cars produced by MMMA, since
the first cars rolled off the line in September 1988, would stretch four deep
from Normal, IL to Cypress, CA and 18 deep from Normal to Detroit. "The scale
of our achievement is wonderful," Iijima said.
In celebrating the 2,000,000th vehicle, EVP & COO Rich Gilligan said,
"this vehicle is really a symbol that together, we have turned MMMA around.
We are a company on the move. We have built momentum and are perfectly
positioned to carry our momentum forward."
From 1998 to 2000, MMMA's production increased 40 percent to 222,000
vehicles, breaking the previous record set in 1995. Hours Per Vehicle, an
industry measurement of productivity, improved 42 percent in 2000 over 1998
In addition, sales of the Mitsubishi Galant, Eclipse coupe and Eclipse
Spyder convertible made at MMMA increased 57 percent from 1998 to 2000.
Overall, sales for all Mitsubishi products in the United States increased
65 percent during this period.
In November 2000, MMMA broke ground for a building expansion to
accommodate production of the 2004 model-year successor to the Montero Sport
SUV, currently made in Japan, which will begin mass production at MMMA in
"It took the MMMA team more than seven years to build the first million
cars," said Gilligan, "and about five years to build the second million. Our
growth and the addition of new product should bring us to the three and four
million marks even more rapidly."
Gilligan said to the employees: "Make no mistake. We are experiencing
our current success only because of your commitment to very hard work. Your
taking responsibility for quality -- and putting the customer at the center of
what you do -- will keep customers coming back."
Haasis congratulated all MMMA employees and saluted the members of UAW
Local 2488. MMMA's 2,680 Associates have been represented by UAW Local 2488
since 1989. John O'Connor, senior manager, DaimlerChrysler Corporation was on
hand to add his congratulations on the production of the two millionth
"Mitsubishi Motors is coming into its own in North America," said Pierre
Gagnon, EVP and COO, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America. "Our customer focus
and outstanding products have driven increased brand recognition and
record-breaking sales performance. MMMA plays a critical role in the overall
The 2,000,000th vehicle will be on display in Mitsubishi Motors' exhibit
at the Chicago Auto Show beginning February 10. The car will be given away to
a lucky participant who registers at any Chicagoland Mitsubishi Motors dealer
or at Mitsubishi's booth during the public days of the Auto Show. A winner
will be selected on Saturday, February 17 at the Mitsubishi Motors display.
Photos of today's event are available upon request. Please contact Dan
Irvin, (309) 888-8205 if interested.
Background Information on MMMA
-- October 1985, Diamond-Star Motors was incorporated as a joint venture
of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and Chrysler Corporation.
-- April 1986, ground broken for the auto assembly plant in Normal,
Illinois. Construction of the 1.9 million square foot facility, with
an annual production capacity of 240,000 vehicles, was completed in
-- Diamond-Star Motors simultaneously launched its first two mass
production vehicles in September 1988: the Mitsubishi Eclipse and the
-- In 1989, 90,741 vehicles were produced. A second production shift and
a third shift for engineering and maintenance were added in May 1989.
-- In 1991, MMC purchased Chrysler's 50 percent share and the plant
became a wholly-owned subsidiary of MMC. On July 1, 1995,
Diamond-Star Motors was renamed Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of
-- In October 1995, MMMA celebrated the one-millionth vehicle -- which
was the first Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible. It was also the
10th anniversary of incorporation.
-- The plant has had three expansions since 1988; the most recent was in
November 2000 when groundbreaking occurred for a 170,000 square foot
expansion to Stamping and Body Shops to accommodate the new sport
utility to be built at MMMA in 2003 (2004 model year). Upon
completion of this expansion, square footage will be 2.5 million.
-- Rich Gilligan joined MMMA in December 1998 as Executive Vice President
and Chief Operating Officer and began a restructuring and turnaround
of plant operations.
Models produced at the plant since 1988
Mitsubishi Eclipse (first produced in 1988 and currently produced)
Plymouth Laser (1988-1994)
Mitsubishi Mirage (1989-1992)
Eagle Talon (1989-1998)
Eagle Summit (1990-1992)
Mitsubishi Galant (first produced in 1993 and currently produced)
Dodge Avenger (1994 -2000)
Chrysler Sebring coupe (first produced in 1994 and currently produced)
Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible (first produced in 1995 and
Dodge Stratus (first produced in 2000 and currently produced)