Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is putting the last nail in the coffin of its slow-selling Raider compact pickup truck.

The truck will cease production in the middle of next year, Mitsubishi Motors North America spokesman Dan Irvin tells Ward’s.

“The information I had was that Chrysler (LLC) would be supplying (the truck) through the middle of next year,” Irvin says, noting mid-2010 was the original ending point of the contract with the Auburn Hills-MI based auto maker.

The truck has racked up low sales since its debut in the U.S. in 2005.

Builds of the truck were halted last year for months at a time as sales slowed and unsold units piled up.

Sources inside MMNA believed the slow sales rate meant the vehicle likely wouldn’t make it beyond one generation.

Chrysler builds the Raider, a twin of the Dodge Dakota, at its Warren, MI, plant.

The Raider was one of the models hardest hit in the U.S. last year, losing 64.5% of its volume from 2007, ending 2008 with 2,935 units sold.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s Tacoma compact truck, the segment leader, delivered 144,653 units in 2008.

However, Ward’s Small Pickup group saw sales decline 24.2% in 2008, one of the larger drops of all U.S. segments.

When it debuted in 2005, the Raider was Mitsubishi’s first attempt at selling a pickup in the U.S. in 10 years, with the auto maker declining to reveal specific sales goals for the model, hoping that it would add incremental volume to its struggling lineup in the U.S.

Irvin says he is “unaware” of any plan to bring another pickup truck to the U.S. to replace the Raider. Mitsubishi sells the Triton compact pickup in Thailand, but importing that model to the U.S. would trigger a 25% import tax.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com