Mitsubishi | WGLT

Mitsubishi

McLean County Museum of History

The McLean County Museum of History is planning to open a Mitsubishi Motors exhibit in the fall of 2018.

Museum staff made the announcement today when representatives from the Mitsubishi Motors U.S.A. Foundation presented a $50,000 gift to support the museum's campaign for local education.

Staff / WGLT

The founder and CEO of Rivian Automotive thinks people may be tiring of traditional car ownership.  He calls cars "poorly performing assets." R.J. Scaringe was in Normal as the company moves toward purchasing the former Mitsubishi car manufacturing plant. The town council voted unanimously on an economic incentive package Monday. 

Two auto industry executives talk with two local leaders in Normal Council chambers.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

After agreeing that it is a low-risk, high reward proposition Normal council members last night unanimously approved an incentive package to lure a start-up electric car manufacturer to the former Mitsubishi plant.  Rivian is an automotive technology company developing vehicles and services to advance the shift to sustainable mobility which would include automation and car-sharing models.

Rivian Automotive.

State and Bloomington-Normal Economic Development officials have found a probable buyer for the former Mitsubishi Auto plant.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The industrial salvage company that owns the closed Mitsubishi plant in Normal has put off an auction to break up the equipment, building, and furniture.

This is the third delay for the auction originally scheduled for August. The latest date had been the 18th of October.

Ralph Timan

This weekend marks a year since Mitsubishi Motors told the community and its workers the auto plant in Normal would close.

Many workers have had tremendous changes in that year. Among them Ralph Timan and his wife Mitzi.

Judith Valente

The Mitsubishi automotive plant in Normal announced it was closing last July 24. For car assembler Mick Hannah, who had worked at the factory for 26 years, it was the start of "one of the worst periods of my life."

Creative Commons

The first anniversary of the announcement of the closure of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal is this weekend.

GLT is revisiting the several former workers we've followed since then.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The last 170 Mitsubishi workers at the plant in Normal are now without jobs as the final day for the plant ended in shutdown. Plant head Jerry Berwanger said no workforce was finer.

Ralph Weisheit

The head of the company that just took the Mitsubishi plant in Normal off the automaker's hands says they will start liquidating the equipment in two or three months if they do not find a buyer for the plant.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The head of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal said this has been his most difficult year of more than four decades in the auto industry. The company laid off most of its workforce last year and the final hundred plus workers at the facility will lose their jobs at the end of the month.

Ralph Weisheit

The Mayor of Normal sees the sale of the Mitsubishi plant to a liquidator as a positive. He also said the purchase would not interfere with overseas conversations to sell the plant.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Mitsubishi Motors North America has sold its plant in Normal to an industrial reclamation firm.

Maynards Industries is a Detroit-based company that will take possession of the plant in June.

Mitsubishi says it does not know Maynards' plans for the site and equipment, but are aware they are in discussions with various parties.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The task force working to find a buyer for the former Mitsubishi auto manufacturing plant is continuing to field inquires. An upcoming trip to an international industrial trade show in Germany could increase interest.

Careerlink

Many laid off Mitsubishi workers are still searching for new directions after the plant ended production last year.

Town of Normal

The Town of Normal may take the first step tonight in establishing another Tax Increment Financing district. The area would include the Mitsubishi plant, which will close in May, and surrounding businesses that supported the factory. 

Former UAW President Ralph Timan
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Ralph Timan spent 27 years at Mitsubishi. Since the plant ended production a couple months ago, he says time has moved quickly. Even before the plant shut down, he started planning, doing some research on possible future plans. He wanted to go back to school and started the paperwork. He was notified January the 10th he could start the next Monday. He talks with Charlie Schlenker in one of our continuing series of interviews with ex-Mitsubishi workers.

Judith Valente

Three months after the Mitsubishi automotive plant in Normal closed, many workers are still struggling to find fulltime employment. WGLT has been checking in periodically with some of the those workers, like former car assembler Mick Hannah. Hannah has now found part-time work with a private Internet firm that monitors student content on school computers. But that job will end when the school year is over.

Charlie Schlenker

Mitsubishi Workers have not been taking great advantage of education workshops on worforce issues since the layoffs of about a thousand workers at the plant in Normal last year. But, Charlie Schlenker finds out there is a lot still being offered. Lindsay Thompson is a customized training coordinator at Heartland Community College.

MMNA, Inc.

Though property tax receipts from the soon to be vacant Mitsubishi auto plant will likely take a hit for area governments, some public officials say they are hopeful home values will not go down much, if at all. About half the 12-hundred workers at the Mitsubishi plant live in Bloomington Normal. McLean County Board Chair Matt Sorenson says analysis suggests many will remain in town.

The head of the McLean County Board says there have been "a very few" serious prospects for a buyer of the soon to be vacant Mitsubishi auto plant in Normal.

Matt Sorenson is one of the area leaders on the task force seeking a replacement for Mitsubishi. Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Sorenson says central Illinois leaders are not the first stop.

Sorenson says he is aware that the task force is still cultivating prospects for new plant ownership.

The Mitsubishi Motors USA Foundation is donating $20,000 to the Tri-County Operation Cool. That program focuses on teens to increase seat belt usage in nineteen schools with about 10,000 students in McLean, Dewitt, and Livingston Counties. It also emphasizes sober driving and school enrollment.

Supporters Cheer On Mitsubishi Workers

Nov 24, 2015
Mike Matejka

As the sun sets on production at the Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing in Normal, supporters of the workers gathered to demonstrate their gratitude in a community recognition event. Jeff Woodard of the McLean County Museum of History was among them.

MMNA, Inc.

Kent Ferguson has been looking for a job. He's one of the Mitsubishi workers losing his job with the end of production at the plant in Normal. As part of GLT's coverage of the plant transition, Charlie Schlenker visited again with Ferguson. He has interviewed in several places, a tool making test to gain entry to a pool of applicants for Harley Davidson in Menominee Falls, Wisconsin, interviews in Chatanooga, Urbana, Tesla in California, really all over the place. Kent's experience shows that in manufacturing, as in any profession, your skill set matters.

Judith Valente / WGLT

In the months since Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing announced that it is closing its plant in Normal, GLT News has been checking in with three longtime employees to see how they, their families and fellow workers are coping. On Tuesday, production line worker Mick Hannah will assemble the final Mitsubishi Outlander sport vehicles at the plant.

MMNA, Inc.

Since the announcement that Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing in Normal would close, GLT News has been checking in to see how workers and their families are coping. Like most of the people working at the soon to close plant in Normal Jerry Harcharik faces uncertainty.

The Bloomington Normal Community may not yet realize just how valuable Mitsubishi workers have been to the community. The plant is halting production at the end of the month. Mike Matejka of the Laborers Local says the United Auto Workers have been involved in many charities over the years.

Matejka urges the community to help in a salute to the Mitusbishi workers at the plant on Tuesday afternoon November 24th.

He says residents should bring signs thanking Mitsubishi workers for all they have done at 2:30 p.m. that day.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Mitsubishi Plant in Normal is preparing to close, but the company says it still wants to remain a part of the Bloomington Normal Community. The Mitsubishi Motors USA Foundation is redirecting its efforts from a national focus to concentrating on charitable works in the twin cities.

Ryan Gremore of the O'Brien Mitsubishi Dealership has announced a nearly $53,000 scholarship gift to Heartland Community College benefiting five graduates each from Bloomington, Normal Community, and Normal West High Schools for five years.

Details of the Mitsubishi severance package are in the new contract approved recently by the United Auto Workers. The agreement comes as Mitsubishi prepares to end production next month and shut down the plant by June.

Jim Browne / WGLT

The state of McLean County is not as good as it has been, but by working together area governments can get things back on track.  That common theme was presented by all four speakers at the annual Chamber of Commerce event.

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