21 October 2017

Mitsubishi USA Production History : 1989-2016

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Sports car

Like Subaru, Mitsubishi entered car manufacturing in the US in 1989, and likewise did it making cars for someone else as well to get sufficient volume. In Mitsubishi's case, it was with Chrysler US, a company that it had financial links with.

Going back a few years, in the early 1980's Mitsubishi commenced selling cars in the US under its brand name. Then both Mitsubishi and Chrysler agreed to form a 50/50 joint venture to manufacture cars in the US, to get around import limits on Japanese cars. Initially the Mitsubishi Eclipse sports car was made at the plant at Normal, Illinois along with two rebadged Chrysler models of the same car.

A brief run of the Mirage was soon switched to the Galant, which provided better volumes. With Chrysler production - averaging over 60,000 units p.a. from 1989 to 1999 - along with Mitsubishi cars had the plant fairly well utilised.

However, in the 2000's, Chrysler production was falling at the joint venture plant and was ended by 2004. This coincided with a fall in Mitsubishi production, despite the introduction of the Endeavor SUV which wasn't very successful. The Raider pick-up was made for Mitsubishi so wasn't produced at the Normal plant, not that its paltry numbers would have helped.

In recent times, car production was phased out and the Outlander SUV did quite well when it replaced the under performing Endeavor in 2012. Despite that, it was decided to end production in 2015. Unless the Normal plant was to be used for large scale exporting, the maths didn't add up in making cars for local consumption.

The reason Subaru was able to go it alone while Mitsubishi wasn't is down to domestic popularity. In 2016 Subaru sold 615,000 vehicles in the US, to Mitsubishi's 96,000.  It was therefore the right decision, that brought to an end 27 years of production in the US.


Year Passenger cars Light Trucks Annual

Model Galant Eclipse Mirage Outl/End Raider Prod

1989 - 40,900 - - - 40,900

1990 - 58,500 5,400 - - 63,900

1991 - 57,900 24,200 - - 82,100

1992 - 72,400 10,100 - - 82,500

1993 42,900 54,700 - - - 97,600

1994 65,000 57,000 - - - 122,000

1995 55,500 60,700 - - - 116,200

1996 57,000 65,100 - - - 122,100

1997 42,800 67,600 - - - 110,400

1998 45,900 50,700 - - - 96,600

1999 65,000 54,000 - - - 119,000

2000 104,100 79,000 - - - 183,100

2001 94,600 70,500 - - - 165,100

2002 99,900 74,800 - - - 174,700

2003 59,600 39,300 - 47,500 - 146,400

2004 45,300 11,200 - 21,800 - 78,300

2005 34,900 28,200 - 22,700 9,600 95,400

2006 35,400 39,400 - 17,700 4,500 97,000

2007 32,400 30,400 - 15,900 3,800 82,500

2008 38,500 16,000 - 4,500 4,500 63,500

2009 12,100 2,700 - 3,700 - 18,500

2010 16,600 6,400 - 6,400 - 29,400

2011 20,200 6,400 - 10,600 - 37,200

2012 13,700 - - 23,300 - 37,000

2013 - - - 67,400 - 67,400

2014 - - - 69,200 - 69,200

2015 - - - 50,200 - 50,200

2016 - - - - - 0

Total 981,400 1,043,800 39,700 360,900 22,400 2,448,200

Average 49,070 45,383 13,233 27,762 5,600 90,674

20 October 2017

Subaru USA Production History : 1989-2016


Japanese car manufacturers realised they had to make vehicles in North America but smaller companies couldn't go it alone, lacking the sales volume to support a car plant. The answer for them was joint ventures. Subaru teamed up with Isuzu and commenced US production in 1989 at Layfayette, Indiana. That involved the Outback and and an Isuzu pick-up.

Over the years the plant also made cars for Honda (a rebadged Isuzu) and other Isuzu models. When that realtionship ended, Toyota came on board until 2016. Now that Subaru is a sizable car brand in North America, Subaru can support the plant with its production requirements alone. The Subaru models that are, or have been made there are as follows:

Outback: It's been an ever present model, with over 2.5 million made over 28 years. Not counting the start up year, that is an average of nearly 96,000 p.a.

Legacy: This model was added to production in 2009 and has racked up 405,000 units at an average of nearly 58,000.

Impreza: Has just been introduced and becomes a third model for the brand now that the Tribeca is no longer.

Tribeca: This was the only location the model was made and those numbers say it wasn't a success. A mid-sized SUV sounds like a winner but it was heavy on fuel, was considered less than attractive and just didn't stir the public.

Baja: This small pick up truck was supposed to sell in the tens of thousands each year but fell well short of that. The unusual vehicle was offered in the US, Canada and Chile. It was a Legacy (or Outback) with a rear tray so was car like but not liked.

Summary: With over 3.1 million vehicles made for Subaru alone at a rate of about 117,000 p.a., the Indiana plant is a success story. Now being just for the Subaru brand, the company has free reign to use the plant as it sees fit to meet its demands.


Year Passenger cars Light Trucks Annual

Model Outback Legacy Impreza Tribeca Baja Prod

1989 5,400 - - - - 5,400

1990 32,500 - - - - 32,500

1991 57,900 - - - - 57,900

1992 57,600 - - - - 57,600

1993 47,100 - - - - 47,100

1994 54,000 - - - - 54,000

1995 80,700 - - - - 80,700

1996 98,700 - - - - 98,700

1997 102,200 - - - - 102,200

1998 104,200 - - - - 104,200

1999 93,100 - - - - 93,100

2000 108,000 - - - - 108,000

2001 103,000 - - - - 103,000

2002 93,100 - - - 9,700 102,800

2003 89,200 - - - 7,800 97,000

2004 98,300 - - - 7,200 105,500

2005 87,200 - - 27,500 4,300 119,000

2006 84,300 - - 21,000 5,100 110,400

2007 85,000 - - 24,200 - 109,200

2008 73,500 - - 18,100 - 91,600

2009 50,900 28,100 - 3,900 - 82,900

2010 108,700 43,800 - 5,500 - 158,000

2011 108,800 46,500 - 6,400 - 161,700

2012 130,200 50,400 - 4,200 - 184,800

2013 122,600 40,800 - 2,800 - 166,200

2014 137,800 55,000 - 200 - 193,000

2015 162,800 66,000 - - - 228,800

2016 208,800 74,600 13,400 - - 296,800

Total 2,585,600 405,200 13,400 113,800 34,100 3,152,100

Average 95,763 57,886 13,400 12,644 6,820 116,744