Mitsubishi eyeing export of Philippine-made light vehicles to SE Asia and beyond

13, Nov. 2019

MANILA, NNA – Having made its mark in the Philippines, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is now studying the possibility of exporting locally made light trucks to Southeast Asian countries.

On the sidelines of a milestone Mitsubishi event on Monday, Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. revealed that the company is exploring the idea of selling its Euro-4 compliant L300 trucks to regional countries which need such commercial vehicles, and subsequently to Africa and the Middle East.

If the plan goes through, it would be the first time for the Philippine unit to export locally produced vehicles, particularly its L300. Only its Philippines and Indonesia plants produce the trucks.

In the Philippines, the L300 is one of the most popular light vehicles used by small and medium-sized companies especially for delivering goods and services.

Takao Kato, CEO of the Tokyo-based automaker, told NNA that “(The) Philippines is a very important country for us, so we’d like to contribute to the Philippine economy and the Philippine government. So, if we start to export, that would really contribute to the Philippine economy.”

Meanwhile, the Japanese carmaker is unable to commit to a launch date as it is still conducting studies to ensure its viability.

Mitsubishi relaunched the L300 with a new model in the Philippines in September this year, almost two years after halting production to comply with a stricter regulation which required new vehicles to be Euro-4 compliant to reduce carbon emission after 2018.

The Philippine unit also produces the Mirage hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan at a plant in Laguna Province for the local market under the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program.

It is an initiative to encourage local production of vehicles in exchange for incentives to improve the automotive manufacturing industry of the Philippines. The local plant is committed to produce a total of 200,000 Mirage and Mirage G4 units by 2023.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines celebrated its success as a market leader in vehicle production in the country on Monday. Since its inception in 1963, it has produced 700,000 vehicles, 46,369 units of which are Mirage and Mirage G4 as of Oct. 14. It has also made a total of 192,049 units of L300 trucks including the Euro-2 compliant models

As it expands further, the Philippine arm plans to open new dealerships beyond Metro Manila. It currently has 55 stores within the metropolis, and plans to have10 new stores across Southern Luzon and Mindanao over the next two to three years.