April 1986, ground broken for the auto assembly plant in Normal, Illinois. Construction of the 1.9 million square foot facility, with an annual production capacity of 240,000 vehicles, was completed in March 1988.
Diamond-Star Motors simultaneously launched its first two mass production vehicles in September 1988: the Mitsubishi Eclipse and the Plymouth Laser.
In 1989, 90,741 vehicles were produced. A second production shift and a third shift for engineering and maintenance were added in May 1989.
In 1991, MMC purchased Chrysler's 50 percent share and the plant became a wholly-owned subsidiary of MMC. On July 1, 1995, Diamond-Star Motors was renamed Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, Inc.
In October 1995, MMMA celebrated the one-millionth vehicle - which was the first Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible. It was also the 10th anniversary of incorporation.
The plant has had three expansions since 1988; the most recent was in November 2000 when groundbreaking occurred for a 170,000 square foot expansion to Stamping and Body Shops to accommodate the new sport utility to be built at MMMA in 2003 (2004 model year ). Upon completion of this expansion, square footage will be 2.5 million.
Rich Gilligan joined MMMA in December 1998 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and began a restructuring and turnaround of plant operations.
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