Loss of Revenue Producing Partnership is seen as Blow to Mitsubishi

Is the Mitsubishi/DaimlerChrysler feud getting personal? Only a week after Mitsubishi Motor Corp. (MMC) announced that it had finalized a capital procurement of $4.5 billion for its revitalization efforts, Chrysler Group drops another bomb by stating it will soon stop production at MMC’s Normal, Illinois production facility.

Just as things were looking up for Mitsubishi, DaimlerChrysler dropped another bomb by announcing it would stop Chrysler Sebring coupe (shown) and Dodge Stratus coupe production at the Japanese brand’s Normal, Illinois plant.

Chrysler Group spokesman Jason Vines was quoted in The Detroit News saying that a decision to end production at MMC’s Normal plant prior to DCX making a decision to pull support from Mitsubishi’s refinancing negotiations.

Vines didn’t give a reason for the decision to discontinue production of the coupe versions of the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Stratus at the plant, which incidentally share general architecture and major components with the Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe and Spyder models, but reiterated Chrysler Group will continue sharing parts and developing new models together with MMC.

To be fair to DaimlerChrysler, the Dodge Stratus (shown) and Chrysler Sebring coupes, the only DCX cars produced at the Normal plant, may not be part of the automaker’s lineup when the current Sebring/Stratus sedans and convertibles are redesigned.

It is quite possible Chrysler Group has decided not to offer coupe variants of the popular Sebring and Stratus nameplates when the new model arrives, being that the 2-door hardtops don’t sell as well as the 4-door sedan or 2-door convertible models. The sedan and convertible do not share components with any Mitsubishi model or the 2-door coupes.

With the recent announcement, water cooler gossip surrounds the next generation Sebring/Stratus, both of which until recently were expected to be based on current Mitsubishi Galant chassis architecture. If this unsubstantiated rumor was correct, it would have made building the two models side by side a cost effective solution. Obviously Chrysler Group knows their business better than those in the rumor mill, and has chosen to build their new midsize front-wheel drive cars at another location regardless of where it will derive major components, most likely the Sterling Heights, Michigan and Belvidere, Illinois plants, the Detroit newspaper stated.