Mitsubishi shuts doors on U.S. design studio

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2009 mitsu eclipse06

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American carmakers have caught the brunt of the public's outrage against the car industry, thanks mostly to their highly public pleas for cash. But the whole industry is hurting, even niche Japanese carmakers like Mitsubishi. As part of their cost-cutting measures, the Triple Diamond brand will be closing the doors on their U.S. design studio in Cypress, CA, leaving 60 employees out of work.

The move echoes a similar step taken by Nissan in January when it closed its Michigan studios. Chrysler closed its California design studio last May, though the facility was later purchased by - of all companies - Mercedes-Benz.

“It’s a reflection of what is going on in the auto industry right now and the economy as a whole. Design functions will now revert fully to our headquarter’s facilities in Japan," Mitsubishi PR spokesman Moe Durand told The New York Times.

Fortunately for fans of the brand's hottest car - the Lancer Evolution - the U.S. design studio was responsible for more uniquely American vehicles, including the Eclipse, Galant and Endeavor. The lack of success of the Project America, or PS platform cars as they are called internally, also contributed to the decision to shut the studio down.

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