Mitsubishi PH rolls out first Mirage under CARS program
Several decades ago, the Philippine car market was given the little Mitsubishi Mirage.
It was a small forward-thinking hatchback with an unusual transmission system. It was an interesting choice for a product back then, but it can now be seen as merely part of how the Mitsubishi Motors Company (MMC) thinks and works.
We have come to learn more of MMC and the Philippine company, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC), over these last decades, and their management and decision-making structure makes them rather unique and rather valuable.
In perhaps the best example of this, Feb. 27 saw the formal inauguration of a very large project that will create jobs and opportunities and growth by not just assembling vehicles locally but by setting up the stamping plant that will actually produce the body parts.
Of particular note is the fact that all this comes because MMC chose to take over something others decided to leave.
The Japanese company chose to have a vision further than just the latest numbers, which is in many ways reflective of the community-involving business direction of the group of companies.
As MMC president, CEO Osamu Masuko said in Tokyo last year, they don’t want to create just cars, they want to create the environment, and the community and buyers of those cars.
MMPC presented a nice blue Mirage G4 to President Duterte at Malacañang Palace. The new car is the first Philippine-manufactured Mirage, and the first vehicle manufactured locally under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy, or CARS.
MMC has already put in P4.3 billion for the production facilities and equipment needed for the localization of production.
The little blue sedan is just the start, and MMPC aims to produce 20,000 units at the end of the year.
A new stamping plant will come online by the beginning of 2018, which is expected to further increase local content and boost production value by 50 percent.
MMPC president and CEO Yoshiaki Kato points out that the Mirage is one of MMC’s global cars, and adds “being produced in Santa Rosa plant brings forth pride to both MMPC employees and local parts suppliers.
“As a next challenge, we have to set up our quality cost delivery programs to be competitive with other MMC production facilities.”
Masuko pointed out the long-term vision of their company in connection with the Philippines. He believes that the Philippines should become competitive in the regional automotive industry by being an exporter of products, and that is why they have made such a commitment.
“The Philippines should be the third pillar of the region,” he stated, and this would need increased quality as well as cost competitiveness. Asean represents 20 percent of the MMC global sales. Also, particularly unique products would also be an incentive for markets to order from the Philippines rather than from neighbors. The CARS program provides a good starting point, but the MMC CEO stressed that they would not rely on subsidies nor should they. They want to export, and they want to be able to do that in three to five years.
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines has a history of over 50 years in the country, and in spite of many obstacles they have stayed in the market and provided what they could for a consumer base that was at times in dire need. With better understanding of the culture behind what we see as the group of companies united as Mitsubishi, it is clear that the common development and growth of the community is a key point in how they choose to do business.