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Mitsubishi Motors shuts vehicle design center in Cypress

The automaker is consolidating its design work at its corporate headquarters in Tokyo. The closure eliminates about 30 jobs.

March 07, 2009|Martin Zimmerman

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. closed its vehicle design center in Cypress this week, the latest move by an automaker to cut design costs.

The closing, which eliminated about 30 jobs, comes as Mitsubishi is consolidating its design work at its corporate headquarters in Tokyo. A Mitsubishi design center in Germany will remain open, but with a greatly reduced staff.

"The company's commitment has been to design global vehicles, and having a single design studio is consistent with that strategy," said Dan Irvin, spokesman for Mitsubishi Motors North America.

The automaker will keep its U.S. headquarters in Cypress, where it employs 470 people, Irvin said.

The Mitsubishi center opened in 1984. The last car on which it contributed significant work was the Eclipse Spyder convertible, which went on sale in 2006, Irvin said.

Automakers are cutting back on design and product planning costs as they try to survive the worst downturn for the industry since 1981.

Mitsubishi is suffering more than most. It sold 51% fewer cars and trucks in the U.S. in February than a year earlier, compared with an industrywide drop of 41%.

Chrysler closed its advanced design center in Carlsbad, Calif., last year, eliminating about 25 jobs.

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martin.zimmerman@latimes.com

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