Mitsubishi Motors wants to join PH CARS Program

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Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) will be applying for the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program in March, wanting to be a part of the country’s plan to ramp up the vehicle manufacturing industry.

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“We will submit out application next month,” Yoshiaki Kato, MMPC president, told reporters Thursday night.

The company has said it will be investing P3 billion to mass produce its best-selling compact sedan, the Mirage, under the CARS Program. The Mirage sold more than 18,000 units last year.

MMPC is one of two carmakers keen on joining the CARS Program. Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. is also pushing for its best-selling Vios, another compact sedan, for mass production.

Toyota had said it will initially invest “more than 1 billion yen” or P400 million to prepare for the program before the actual production starts.

The CARS Program, under Executive No. 182, seeks to support the mass production of three qualified vehicles within a six-year timeframe. The goal is to produce no less than 600,000 units or 200,000 per model. The program has a P27-billion allocation for the first year, which translates to P9-billion for each qualified model.

Submission of applications for the program started in the last week of January and will run up to March 15.

Asked why the company was taking time in applying for the program, Kato said: “We have not yet finalized [the details]. We need some more time to prepare.”

The company aims to expand its Philippine market share to “20 percent” this year from 17 percent in 2015.

Kato said the carmaker was banking on the newly launched Montero Sport to hit its sales goal of 67,800 units for 2016.

In January 2016, MMPC saw sales climb by 14 percent to 4,867 units compared with December and by 50 percent from January 2015.

The Montero Sport accounted for a third or 806 units of the January 2016 sales. The sports utility vehicle is priced from P1.5 million to P1.99 million per unit.

“We just launched the all-new Montero Sport. We are confident with the sales. Also, the Mirage G4 is very stable. And our other model unit, Strada, [may hit]6,000 units a year,” Kato said.

Despite the allegations of sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) hounding the previous Montero Sport, Kato and MMPC First Vice President for Marketing Froilan Dytianquin said the latest generation is “an entirely new model” with special features to attract buyers.

“We believe that apart from its strikingly attractive and exciting styling, Montero Sport’s other features such as the new powerful and efficient 2.4 MIVEC Clean Diesel, class-leading 8 speed automatic transmission, advanced four-wheel drive system and safety features convinced our customers to consider our all-new Montero Sport,” Dytianquin said.

“I believe that you cannot really put a good product down. We are also pleased that sales of the predecessor Montero model, which we intend to continue selling, also sold 200 times more than last December. I believe that in spite of the introduction of the new generation model, they still find this GLX model to have an outstanding value for money proposition,” he added.

In 2015, MMPC sales improved by 8 percent to 54,087 units year-on-year, allowing the firm to retain its ranking as the second leading auto maker in the Philippines after Toyota.

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