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JAPAN: Mitsubishi suspends US plant capacity increase - report

By just-auto.com editorial team | 30 October 2003

Mitsubishi Motors has suspended plans to increase production capacity in the United States as it focuses on restoring sales volumes in the world's largest car market, Dow Jones reported.

Mitsubishi Motors told the news agency on Thursday that it will suspend an increase in capacity at a plant in Illinois, its only assembly plant in North America, until "market conditions and product needs change."

Mitsubishi Motors' sales in the US are slumping, while rival automakers such as Toyota are strengthening market share, the report noted.

According to Dow Jones, Mitsubishi said in March that it planned to increase output capacity at the Illinois plant to 300,000 vehicles from 240,000 by the autumn of 2004 - it decided four months after the announcement to postpone the completion of the output increase by six months from the initial plan.

The Illinois plant produces the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder, Galant, Endeavor, Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Stratus, Dow Jones said.

In July, Dow Jones said, Mitsubishi revised down its earnings outlook for the first half to September and full year to March, citing a sharp decline in sales and a growing problem with bad car loans in the US.

Mitsubishi, whose US sales volume for the first nine months of the year dropped 22%, also slashed its unit sales target for the North American market for this fiscal year to 340,000 vehicles from a previous target of 370,000, Dow Jones said.