Diamond-Star Motors, the Chrysler Mitsubishi joint venture, has begun building cars at its new assembly complex in Normal, IL. The Plymouth Laser and Mitsubishi Eclipse 2-door hatchbacks currently in production will be joined in 1989 by the Eagle Talon variant along with an Eagle Summit 4-door sedan. The Talon will be offered in both front- and all-wheel-drive variants. When at full production, the Normal assembly complex will be capable of building 63 cars hourly. That gives it the capacity to assemble 996 cars daily and 240,000 annually. Although the plant has no casting or machining capability, it molds the composite fascias used on the various models.

All-wheel antilock brakes are coming to light-trucks in model year ’89 on Jeep Cherokee and Wagoneer. GM light trucks adopt the system in ’90, along with Ford’s Aerostar van and large pickups. After that, the Ford Econoline large van will be the next to adopt ABS, according to industry reports. Many light trucks already feature rear-wheel ABS, once seen as a more cost-effective alternative to all-wheel designs. There were an estimated 1.5 million domestic-make cars and light trucks equipped with 2- or 4-wheel ABS in model year ’88, a figure seen growing exponentially – to as much as 100% of cars in ’95, according to one supplier forecast. One key to expanded use, according to Robert Bosch, is the development of a less complex, less costly, alternative to the current 4-channel system.

The Wayne, MI, facility was Ford’s leading U.S. car-assembly plant in the ’88 model year, turning out 298,397 Escorts. In second place, the Wixom, MI, facility built 280,661 ’88-model Lincoln Town Cars, Continentals and Marks. Lorain, OH, ranked third with 266,405 Ford Thunderbirds and Mercury Cougars completed. Edison, NJ, building 122,080 Escorts, was the auto maker’s lowest volume car facility. Meanwhile, the Sterling Heights, MI, facility was Chrysler’s top U.S. car builder in ’88. It turned out 233,342 ’88-model Chrysler LeBaron GTS, Dodge Shadow and Lancer, and Plymouth Sundance models.