MITSUBISHI Motors Phils. Corp. (MMPC) last week announced it had acquired the manufacturing plant shuttered by Ford Group Phils. at the end of 2012.
MMPC cited the “sustained growth in the economy and the coming age of motorization in the Philippines” as reasons for the purchase, and added that it is part of its strategy to expand its sales and production capacity. The purchase also follows the mid-term plan of Mitsubishi Motors Co. (MMC) of Japan. The mid-term plan runs until the end of the 2016 fiscal year.
MMPC said its parent company approved the purchase because the brand’s Philippine operation has logged “continuous growth in spite of the increasing market competition.”
Ford’s former plant is located in Greenfield Automotive Park in Santa Rosa, Laguna. In an announcement made months before the closure, Peter Fleet, president of Ford Asean at the time, said that the “lack of scale” in the Philippine auto industry meant that continuing to assemble vehicles in the country is not viable for Ford’s business.
Ford, however, has expanded its sales network in the Philippines even as it ceased its assembly operations.
Ford’s former factory, sitting on a 21-hectare property, adds to MMPC’s 18- hectare plant in Cainta, Rizal—which is surrounded by a booming residential area. MMPC said its present facility can produce 30,000 units annually. Last year, around 15,000 completely knocked down models, such as the Mitsubishi L300, Adventure and Lancer EX, were built there.
According to MMPC, it plans to relocate to its new site and start producing vehicles there by January 2015.
“The acquisition of the Santa Rosa factory will further strengthen our assembly operations, utilizing heavy stamping machines, advanced equipment and facilities engineering that will support MMC’s business objectives for the new mid-term business plan,” said Hikosaburo Shibata, MMPC president and chief executive officer.
MMPC said it “managed to establish new records” last year—its 50th—as it sold 43,176 vehicles, breaking the company’s previous record of 36,533 units sold that was logged in 1996. The result means MMPC secured a 20-percent share of the domestic market while also posting seven years of growth, which began in 2006.
The company said it is “looking forward” to a new government auto industry policy that favors local auto manufacturing operations, which should make the Philippines’ carmakers “competitive against other Asian and Asean countries.”
MMPC noted that the Philippines, in spite of a record 212,000-vehicle tally last year, still lags far behind Thailand and Indonesia in auto sales. But the country is projected to grow rapidly in the coming years given its population of nearly 100 million, according to the company.