Mitsubishi in PH struggling—outclassed by counterpart Mirage in Thailand | Inquirer Business
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Mitsubishi in PH struggling—outclassed by counterpart Mirage in Thailand

/ 03:38 AM September 30, 2019

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) is putting on hold its plan to export the locally produced Mirage units this year, as its Japanese headquarters thought it was more cost efficient to export the cars from Thailand.

MMPC is already reporting difficulties—its much touted factory in Laguna is dialing down operations.

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“If we have to rely on the Philippine [sales and] the Philippine [sales are] down, it [would be] very difficult to keep the factory and maintain the people. We had two shifts, and now [we have] one shift,” MMPC president and CEO Mutsuhiro Oshikiri said.

Still, MMPC wants to export to diversify its exposure to risks—just not this year.

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“Maybe not this year. Lots of preparation [are] required,” he told reporters last week when asked for an update.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced last year the company would be exporting this year its Mirage units, which were locally manufactured in Mitsubishi’s production plant in Laguna.

To date, the cars have not left Philippine soil. The year would likely end without any of such exports, as the company would be subjecting the plan to further study, MMPC officials said.

Alvin Dalida, MMPC first vice president for sales and marketing, told reporters last week the company needed to be competitive against its counterpart in Thailand, which was also producing the Mirage model.

“It’s not very feasible to have multiple manufacturing facilities producing the same model and selling it in the same region. So as any other manufacturing company, they want to see where it’s more efficient,” he said.

“We are still trying to lobby for it. In order to export, you need to be more competitive with the other manufacturers because you are competing for market share and at the same time competing for quality and cost,” he added.

MMPC is currently producing Mirage and Mirage G4 units under the multibillion peso Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program, an initiative launched near the end of the Aquino administration wherein MMPC committed to locally produce a total of 200,000 units by 2023.

But the local production faced an obstacle when the Duterte administration decided to slap higher excise on cars last year, which, together with high inflation rates, dampened consumer demand.

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