Mitsubishi Motors

Futaki plans Mitsubishi fix

NORMAL, Ill. -- Shiro Futaki is no stranger to the Mitsubishi plant here.

He was the one who set it up in 1985, when it began producing Mitsubishi and Chrysler vehicles in a joint venture known as Diamond Star Motors.

What a difference 21 years makes. Chrysler is gone, along with the second shift at the plant and 100,000 units of annual output, as well as the 1,000 workers who produced them.

But Futaki is back, charged with making manufacturing more cost-effective in the latest bid to fix what ails the automaker in the United States.

Some would say turning around an operation that has been knee-deep in red ink for three years is daunting; others would say it's...