Mitsubishi eyes additional investments in PH
TOKYO—Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) has bared plans to infuse additional investments in the local automotive industry and introduce new models, including a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
This will be on top of the P4.3 billion that the company has committed to invest in its assembly plant in Laguna under the Philippine government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program, MMPC president and CEO Yoshiaki Kato said in an interview Wednesday.
Based on initial assessments, the new round of investment will likely be significant. It was estimated to be more than half of the existing commitment of P4.3 billion. Kato, however, declined to cite a specific figure pending the completion of the project studies.
MMPC’s decision to push through with these plans, however, will largely depend on the growth of the local automotive market and the Philippine economy—among other factors that will be considered.
The fresh capital infusion is deemed necessary to ramp up the plant’s existing production capacity of 50,000 units at two shifts to 100,000 units.
“The P4.3 billion is based on a 50,000-unit production capacity. To increase that would require more investments because all parts of the factory have to be expanded and strengthened. We need to invest more in the production line, stamping plant,” Kato said.
“We already have some figures, but we’re still confirming with and talking to (our parent firm) Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC),” he added.
Kato also said the company was planning to launch the new Outlander next year to boost its existing lineup in the country.
MMPC, however, has yet to finalize the timing of the launch and pricing it needed to make a distinction between Outlander and the other SUV models of Mitsubishi such as the Montero Sport.
As for the plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) version of the Outlander, MMPC is still evaluating the feasibility of bringing to the Philippines the said model due to constraints in infrastructure. In order to have good sales, Kato cited the need to promote hybrid EVs and put up public charging points.
“In other countries like Netherlands and the UK, many hybrid vehicles are sold there because their governments support (the industry) through incentives and tax exemptions. Without incentives, the price of the Outlander PHEV will be very high,” Kato said.
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