Mitsubishi to shutdown Illinois plant for seven weeks in 2009

Mitsubishi announced today that it will suspend production at its Illinois plant for seven weeks next year after its U.S. sales declined 25 percent through November. The Japanese automaker will halt production at its Normal, Illinois factory starting Feb. 16th to April 3rd.

The move will mark the longest production shutdown at the plant according to Dan Irvin, a spokesman for Mitsubishi North America who spoke with Automotive News.

The plant is responsible for building the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Galant and employs 1,568 employees including more than 1,200 hourly UAW represented workers. Mitsubishi will keep all employees on the payroll but will shift their duties to non-production work.