TOKYO, July 27 (Reuters) - The president of Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp said on Monday the automaker’s move to pull out of U.S. production was not related to labour costs or foreign exchange rates, but strictly due to dwindling output in recent years.
The automaker’s President and Chief Operating Officer Tetsuro Aikawa was speaking at a news conference after the company confirmed plans to end already-dwindling production at its sole North American plant, in Normal, Illinois, and serve the U.S. market from plants in Japan and Thailand.
At its peak in the early 2000s, the Normal plant built more than 200,000 cars a year. Last year, production of the Outlander SUV totaled 69,178, according to Mitsubishi Motors.
Aikawa said he thought finding a buyer for the plant would be relatively easy because demand for cars in the buoyant U.S. market was strong. (Reporting by Minami Funakoshi; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)