All systems go for Philippine-made Mirage

Posted on November 23, 2016

MMPC president and CEO Yoshiaki Kato. Photo by MIKE AMOROSO

Mitsubishi Motors names partner suppliers Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) took one step closer to its much anticipated participation in the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program by awarding certificates to 25 qualified partner suppliers tapped to provide parts for the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 and hatchback.

“This just the first batch of suppliers who have (confirmed) their involvement under MMPC’s Local Parts Manufacturing Program,” said the company in a statement. Last June, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Board of Investments approved MMPC’s application to participate in CARS – designed to reinvigorate the local automotive manufacturing sector.

In view of the impending commencement of Mirage manufacturing activities in January next year, the company broke ground on a stamping shop within its existing 21-hectare facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, and is expanding its assembly capacity commensurately. MMPC president and CEO Yoshiaki Kato explained in a speech last Monday that these are parts of the company’s commitment towards realizing 200,000 units of locally manufactured vehicles over six years. All told, the company is sinking P4.3 billion into its CARS participation.

“Theoretically, a single car has about 30,000 parts – counting every part down to the smallest screws. Some of these parts are made in Japan, Thailand, and other suppliers and affiliates,” continued Kato, and said that its business partnership with local suppliers bears with it a hope that the country can be transformed into a “regional automotive hub and exporter of quality vehicles and automotive parts.”

Speaking ahead of the presentation of certificates to MMPC’s partner suppliers, Kato said the company decided on the Mirage as it believes “this product is suited for the present demand of the Philippine market for the small car segment.”

Incorporated in February 1963, MMPC is now ranked second in the passenger-car category. Of note, despite the economic crunch of the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the company never ceased operations here. “We never left this country,” declared Kato. “It is our fervent hope that, together with you, backed by consistent government policies that support the automotive and parts manufacturing industry, we shall unceasingly contribute to job generation, technology transfer, and growth of the Philippine economy.”

The MMPC head predicted that the “phenomenal growth of motoring in the Philippines is inevitable,” and cited the recalibrated forecast of the Chamber of Automobile Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) as evidence. CAMPI recently upped its projected total vehicle sales in the country from 350,000 to 370,000 units. The uptrend is expected to breach 500,000 by 2020.

Kato also points to other heartening indicators that augur well for Philippine infrastructure. He shared that a Japanese company plans to invest US$3.2 billion over the short term and US$40 billion over medium to long term “in such projects as mass transport systems, roads, highways, water, and power.”

MMPC’s head additionally expressed hope “that the Philippine government can address concerns of road congestion and utility supply in the near future.”

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