Corporate News

By Melissa Luz L. Lopez, Reporter

Mitsubishi Motors plans to boost PHL production

Posted on June 28, 2016

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) will focus on making passenger cars in the Philippines following an additional investment this year, with plans to increase local production to export to the growing Southeast Asian market.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. vehicles are reflected on an external wall at the company headquarters in Tokyo, in this file photo dated May 13. -- REUTERS
“The Philippines is one of the core markets in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), that’s why we decided to invest in the Philippines... with small passenger cars as the concentration,” Mitsubishi Motors Chief Executive Officer Osamu Masuko said in a translated press briefing yesterday in this city.

“Passenger ratio is high in the Philippines, that’s why we want to place emphasis on that.”

Mitsubishi is zooming in on the ASEAN region for production and sales, with a commercial factory in Thailand for pickup trucks and multi-purpose vehicles in Indonesia.

MMC currently produces two vehicles in the Philippines: the Adventure AUV and the L300 van. MMC’s Philippine unit plans to start the local assembly of the Mirage sedan by 2017, as enrolled under the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program.

MMC sold 55,000 cars in the Philippines last year, the seventh biggest market in terms of volume against 1.048 million total units it sold worldwide. In terms of market share, Mitsubishi captured 17% of the local auto industry, ranking second after Toyota Motor Philippines.

Under the CARS program, Mitsubishi will invest P4.3 billion in a span of six years to boost local car production as the government eyes to corner a bigger share of a projected six million demand for vehicles across ASEAN. In turn, car makers will receive incentives from the government for producing 200,000 units by 2022.

In particular, the Japanese car maker wants to bring production to 100,000 yearly, well above their Laguna plant’s existing capacity of 50,000 and higher than the 30,000 current manufacturing volume.

Mitsubishi targets to increase production of the Mirage once it goes fully local next year to eventually reach enough volumes for export, as well as the next-generation L300 that complies with the Euro 4 fuel standard.

“We should be able to bring 100,000 a year as soon as possible. In that scenario, we’d like to consider exports,” Mr. Masuko said, pointing out “great expectations” for the Philippines, given robust economic growth and a “stable” political environment.

“The Philippines will see a change in government in July, but our commitment to the country remains unchanged,” the company official also noted.

Meanwhile, MMC executives expect by next month a third party report on the case of the reported sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) that supposedly caused a number of Mitsubishi Montero Sport vehicles to crash.

Yoshiaki Kato, president of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC), said the company tapped the UK-based Horiba Mira firm to conduct an independent investigation into consumer reports involving the automatic model of the sports utility vehicle in the country.

Mr. Kato clarified that this was separate from the probe set by the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry, with the results to be published once the inquiry is completed.

MMPC had previously said it thoroughly evaluated all the 97 vehicles involved in alleged SUA as of Dec. 8, 2015 and found nothing wrong with any of them. The Montero model sold in ASEAN is built in Thailand.