Mitsubishi ending production at Normal, Ill., plant, looking for buyer

NORMAL, Ill. — Mitsubishi has confirmed its going to end production its plant in Normal.

The news first broke in Japanese newspapers, and initially Mitsubishi wouldn’t confirm. But as of this morning, the company confirmed it will cease production and look for a buyer in the hopes of keeping its roughly 1,000 United Auto Workers members on the job.

”Our focus right now is to identify a buyer who would continue to operate and maintain employment – the best potential outcome for our employees and the community,” Mitsubishi said in a brief statement.

The plant first opened in 1988 and was threatened with closure in 2010, but workers agreed to take a pay cut.

It built Mitsubishi’s Outlander Sport, which proved popular, but the company later recalled 460,000 cars – all built in Normal. At its peak in 2002, the plant was producing more than 200,000 vehicles a year. Last year, it was a little less than 70,000.