Hit The Lights On Your Way Out: Mitsubishi Closes Normal Plant After 27 Years

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Monday was the final day for many workers at Mitsubishi’s Normal, Illinois facility as the plant mostly shuttered operations after 27 years.

WEEK reported that roughly 900 workers finished work Monday before turning in their badges at the plant. About 300 workers will stay until May to produce parts for Mitsubishi, who announced in July that the plant would be closing.

Many of the workers told the TV station that they were too young for retirement and would be looking for work.

“I am going to have to find a job some place else,” Barbara Fisher told WEEK. “I’ll have to look for a job wherever I can find one. If I have to go out of town, I will go out of town.”

Mitsubishi said it would look to sell the plant, but no buyer has yet been announced for the facility.

According to the local union’s Facebook page, UAW representatives handed out informational packets to workers leaving the plant and the union would be holding career workshops throughout December.

The plant was started in 1988 as part of Diamond-Star motors, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler. At its peak, the plant produced about 200,000 vehicles, but last year only produced about 70,000.

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20 of 28 comments
  • Clueless Economist Clueless Economist on Dec 01, 2015

    I wonder about the quality of cars built by workers who know they will be unemployed soon.

    • See 3 previous
    • Matador Matador on Dec 02, 2015

      @28-Cars-Later How about a new Mirage? We can finance you!

  • CJinSD CJinSD on Dec 01, 2015

    This is what happens when the UAW organizes your transplant factory.

    • See 7 previous
    • Bball40dtw Bball40dtw on Dec 01, 2015

      @28-Cars-Later Flat Rock was originally a casting plant for V8s. Ford threw a lot of cash at it but it closed in less than a decade. Mazda built on the site in the 80s and started build MX-6s and Probes. Ford bought in with a 50% stake in the early 90s. They made the 626, Cougar, Mazda6, and Mustang before Ford divested most of it's Mazda shares. Then AutoAlliance ceased to exist in 2012 and Ford took over the factory. Ford also added over 1000 jobs and product that sells better than the Mazda6.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Dec 01, 2015

    Our featured presentation is brought to you by: Trans Pacific Partnership. TPP is where YOU want to be!

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    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Dec 02, 2015

      @VoGo You may find this interesting. Per the Japan Times: "The U.S. tariff of 2.5 percent on Japanese automobiles will start to be incrementally lowered 15 years after the agreement takes effect, halved in 20 years and elimination in 25 years. The United States will eliminate tariffs on more than 80 percent of auto parts imported from Japan. Canada will eliminate its 6.1 percent tariff on Japanese automobiles in five years and 6.0 percent duty on close to 90 percent of Japanese auto parts." http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/06/business/gist-tpp-free-trade-agreement/ Per Good Car Bad Car, Canadian sales in 2014 were double those of 2004 and were 29.2% compared to US sales. So if Mitsubishi were planning to continue to increase Canadian sales, the much faster tariff elimination (five years vs twenty five in the US) and 6% parts tariff elimination on 90% parts sets up MMNA and other Japanese marques to increase sales and possibly production there. This might be a Mitsubishi strategy. http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/mitsubishi-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

  • Threeer Threeer on Dec 02, 2015

    While I'd love to blame China for yet another factory closure here in America, this time around I just can't do it. Mitsubishi let this facility shrivel away. Without competitive product coming out of the plant, there was simply no way to justify its existence. My Lancer Sportback Ralliart will observe a moment of silence today...