Mitsubishi Motors to start Xpander minivan production in Vietnam next year
HO CHI MINH CITY, NNA - Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will start manufacturing seven-seat Xpander multi-purpose vehicles in Vietnam in May next year while hoping to work out a plan to build a new plant there in a few years’ time, the company’s chairman says.
Chairman Osamu Masuko made the comment to NNA and other media in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday when he attended a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of his company’s Vietnamese subsidiary, Mitsubishi Motors Vietnam Co. (MMV).
MMV is currently producing Outlander sports utility vehicles on a knockdown basis at a plant in the southern province of Binh Duong. With the start of Xpander production, the plant’s annual output will expand to about 20,000 units from the current 10,000. At present, Xpander models are imported from Indonesia as complete built-up units for sale in Vietnam. The import business will be continued for the time being after the start of Xpander production in Vietnam.
The plant’s maximum annual capacity is about 40,000 units. MMV’s sales have been rapidly expanding with 16,386 units sold in the January-August period this year, a 3.8-fold year-on-year growth. MMV needs to increase its output capacity in order to meet this growing domestic demand, but it will be difficult to expand the existing plant because of its limited site space.
The Mitsubishi Motors chairman said his company wants to complete a feasibility study on construction of a second plant in Vietnam at an early time and present a concrete plan for the plant, including its location and scale, within a few years, when the plant’s output is forecast to reach full capacity.
“It is unexpected, a pleasant surprise,” Masuko said, referring to the fast growth of Vietnam’s motor vehicle market. He added that he wants to make Vietnam Mitsubishi Motors’ “fourth production base” in Southeast Asia following Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
On Thursday, MMV awarded through the Vietnam Red Cross Society scholarships totaling 640 million dong ($275,000) to 30 high school students in Ho Chi Minh City and the province of Binh Duong as well as 40 university students in the city. At the award ceremony, Masuko and MMV General Director Kenichi Horinouchi handed catalogues and souvenirs to the students.