• Mitsubishi kick-starts CARS Program

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    n (From left) BOI Governor Henry Co, Yazaki Corp. president Shinji Yazaki, Denso Chairman Nobuaki Katoh, MMC president Osamu Masuko, Sojitz Corp. EVP Shigeki Dantani and MMPC president Yoshiaki Kato.

    (From left) BOI Governor Henry Co, Yazaki Corp. president Shinji Yazaki, Denso Chairman Nobuaki Katoh, MMC president Osamu Masuko, Sojitz Corp. EVP Shigeki Dantani and MMPC president Yoshiaki Kato.

    Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) kick-started the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) with the announcement of their participation in the program through the infusion of P4.3 billion worth of fresh investment to produce Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact cars at their the Santa Rosa manufacturing plant in Laguna.

    Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) Chief Executive Officer Osamu Masuko flew to the Philippines on February 10 to personally announce MMPC’s participation in the government’s auto industry resurgence program. The top executive of the automotive giant said that with their participation, they plan to locally produce between 25,000 to 35,000 units of the Mitsubishi Mirage in 2017, with plans to increase production to 50,000 units by 2020.

    At present, the Santa Rosa plant has an annual production capacity of 50,000 units per year per shift. Last year, a total of 18,000 units of the L300 and Adventure models rolled out of the Laguna plant.

    The CARS program, or Executive Order No. 182, was approved by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in June last year. The program calls for fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to jumpstart the revitalization of the country’s automotive industry and make the country a major auto-manufacturing hub in the region. The program is designed to grow the parts making capability of the Philippine auto industry.

    Last month, the Board of Investments (BOI) announced the opening of applications for the CARS program with the release of a memorandum circular. Auto and auto parts makers eligible for the program were given 60 days, upon the publication of the circular, to submit their applications.

    MMPC is the first local auto manufacturer to make public their intention to file their application to the program.

    “We will immediately file an application to the CARS Program and when it is accepted, we are planning to start the production of hatchback and sedan of Mirage from early 2017,” Masuko said.

    “The production site will be in the Santa Rosa plant which MMPC has started its operations anew from January last year. In line with starting of production of new model, MMPC has a plan to invest P4.3 billion including stamping facility as the First Phase in order to increase the local content rate and further make investment and expand employment opportunities responding to the buildup of production capacity,” he added.

    To show support for Mitsubishi’s entry into the Program, the top management of 20 Japanese parts suppliers that have decided to penetrate the Philippines alongside MMC accompanied Masuko during the announcement. Leading the high-ranking executives were Chairman Nobuaki Katoh of Denso and president Shinji Yazaki of Yazaki Corporation.

    “The parts suppliers who are here today are aiming to contribute to the development of the automotive industry of the Philippines just like us by business expansion in different ways such as construction of new plants, expansion of existing production base, and providing technology to local corporations,” Masuko said.

    “This time, many parts suppliers will make new investments as well and expand employment in the Philippines,” he added.

    Masuko explained that for the first phase of their participation in the Program, 700 new jobs will be generated by MMPC alone with Tier 1 suppliers generating 1,000 new jobs. Meanwhile, 3,000 to 4,000 new job postings are expected to be filled by MMPC’s Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers.

    Furthermore, Masuko announced their business partner, Sojitz Corporation, will establish a financial services company together with BDO Leasing and Finance in the Philippines, to support Mitsubishi’s automotive sales from a financial perspective. The new company is scheduled to start operations in June this year.

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