Mitsubishi Motors to end production in US to focus on Asian markets: reports

Mitsubishi Motors has decided to end production in the US to focus on Asian markets,  Japanese media reports said today.

However, the company said in a statement today that no decision had been taken.

According to Japan's leading business newspaper, the Nikkei, which cited unnamed sources, the company would  stop making vehicles at its factory in Normal, Illinois, and try to sell the plant.

Kyodo News also citing unnamed sources said the plant would close.

Annual production at the factory was down to  64,000 vehicles from over 200,000 in 2002.

The company could sell only 82,000 vehicles in the US last year, less than 1 per cent of the total market.

According to the Nikkei report Mitsubishi would be the first major Japanese automaker to end production in both the US and Europe.

The company had built a plant in Thailand, bought one from Ford in the Philippines, and was setting up one in  Indonesia.

Mitsubishi said in a statement that it had been reviewing the structure of its global production, including in North America, but "there has been no decision made regarding it at this moment."