2016-mitsubishi-Outlander-6

In the wake of the company confirming that it will shut down its US plant at the end of the year, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) president, Tetsuro Aikawa, has stated that the Japanese carmaker will now shift its focus towards production in Japan, Russia and nations in the ASEAN region such as Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Come November this year, the plant in Normal, Illinois will roll out the final Outlander Sport – it is currently the only model assembled at said plant. Future vehicles destined for the US market will be produced at MMC’s plant in Japan and Thailand, according to Automotive News Europe. Upon confirmation of the move, it was noted that company shares rose by a total of five percent.

In Russia, MMC operates a joint-venture production facility with PSA Peugeot Citroen. Closer to home, production is slated to intensify as plants in Southeast Asia (SEA) continue to churn out pick-up trucks and SUVs that prove so popular in the region.

Outlander Sport USA-11

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Further evidence of Mitsubishi’s efforts to augment production and development in the region can be seen in the opening of a R&D facility in Thailand and a production plant in Bekasi, Indonesia. Models queued for assembly at said plant in 2017 are the next-generation Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Colt L300 and a “new small MPV.” The Bekasi plant will be second largest in the ASEAN region after the Laem Chabang plant.

Currently, MMC is still scouting for potential buyers for the US plant to help “preserve” the jobs of 900 workers stationed there. At the start of the millennium, the plant produced around 222,000 units – figures that began to plummet after its then-partner, Chrysler Corporation, dissolved an OEM supply agreement. At the end of its fiscal year in March 2015, US sales were recorded at only 82,000 units.

GALLERY: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport