Japan’s automotive manufacturing giant Mitsubishi has announced that it will be expanding its operations in the Philippines ahead of higher-than-expected economic growth of 6.6 per cent in 2012, making the archipelago one of the best performing markets in Asia.
“We will expand the capacity of Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp’s manufacturing plant here in preparation for the several new vehicle models that we plan to produce in the next few years,” said Mitsubishi Motors Corp (Japan) President Osamu Masuko at a meeting in Makati, Manila.
However, Masuko conceded that Mitsubishi was not yet ready to transform the Philippines into an alternative production hub for the company.
While automotive sales in the Philippines moved up from 165,056 units in 2011 to over 180,000 in 2012, this volume is still stunted compared to other major economies in the ASEAN-5.
Indonesia sold a record-breaking 1.12 million automobiles in 2012, while Thailand, the region’s headquarters for Ford Motors, sold 1.43 million. General Motors, another US car maker, has also announced plans to expand heavily in Indonesia and Thailand in order to tap growth opportunities in the two markets with rising income levels.
Overall, automotive production in ASEAN for 2012 rose 41.5 per cent to over 4.2 million units, up from 2.9 million units in 2011, while the Philippines only accounted for 1.78 per cent of the region’s total output.