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Diamond-star motors

The meaning of «diamond-star motors»

Diamond-Star Motors (DSM) was an automobile-manufacturing joint venture between the Chrysler Corporation and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC).[1] The name came from the parent companies' respective logos: three diamonds (Mitsubishi) and a pentastar (Chrysler).[2] Diamond-Star Motors was officially renamed Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, Inc. (MMMA) in 1995, four years after Mitsubishi took sole control of the plant, and from 2002 to 2016 its official name had been Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) Manufacturing Division.[3]

In the automotive enthusiast community, DSM, especially used in the singular (e.g. a DSM) generally refers to the original first- and second-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon, and Plymouth Laser, which all shared the same Diamond-Star Motors vehicle platform.

The origins of Diamond-Star Motors can be traced back to 1970 when Chrysler Corporation took a 15 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors, as part of MMC's strategy of expansion through alliances with foreign partners. The U.S. company began distributing Mitsubishis as Chrysler-, Dodge-, and Plymouth-branded captive imports (e.g. Dodge Colt), a successful venture as the compact cars met consumer demand for smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles in the 1970s, filling a gap at the bottom of the Chrysler group's range.[4]

By 1982, Chrysler was importing 110,000 Mitsubishis annually. However, a minor conflict was forming as the Japanese now wanted to sell directly through their own-branded dealerships. A voluntary import quota system was in place at this time, restricting the number of cars Japanese automakers could bring into the U.S. As the Japanese company began to open its own branded dealerships to sell directly, every imported Cordia, Tredia, and Starion sold by Mitsubishi had to be discounted from Chrysler's allocation.[4] Another point of contention was that Chrysler had the right of first refusal of any Mitsubishi automobiles in the US market until 1990.[5]

In order to circumvent this, the two partners officially incorporated Diamond-Star Motors in October 1985. An incentive package worth US$274 million, and an intense and controversial lobbying effort by state and local government authorities, meant that Illinois won the new auto plant,[6] and in April 1986 ground was broken on a 1,900,000 sq ft (180,000 m2) production facility in the town of Normal. The plant was completed in March 1988, with an annual capacity of 240,000 vehicles.[3] In 1989, the workers at the plant formed United Auto Workers Local 2488, and signed their first contract with the company.[7]

Initially, three models were produced at this facility. The Mitsubishi Eclipse, Plymouth Laser, and Eagle Talon were smaller 2+2 sports cars on a new co-designed platform. Models subsequently produced during the next decade included the Mitsubishi Mirage/Dodge/Plymouth Colt/Eagle Summit sedans, the Mitsubishi Galant, the Dodge Avenger Coupe/Chrysler Sebring Coupe, and the Dodge Stratus Coupe.[8]

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