Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) is ramping up production capacity of Mirage eco-cars this year to meet rising demand for eco-cars at home and abroad.
Murahashi: Eco-cars still quite popular
Nobuyuki Murahashi, the company's president, said Mitsubishi plans this year to increase the capacity of Mirage eco-cars at its third plant production in Laem Chabang to 200,000 units.
It started commercial production early last year with an annual capacity of 150,000 units.
Mitsubishi will spend around 1 billion baht in the capacity expansion.
He said eco-cars or city cars are expected to remain popular both locally and abroad.
"Though the government's first-time car buyer scheme has expired, eco-cars are still cheap and eco-friendly," said Mr Murahashi.
"Mitsubishi aims to sell an average of 10,000 units a month, with Mirage expected to make up 45% of sales."
Late last year Mitsubishi announced plans to spend 4-5 billion baht this year to upgrade three car assembly plants, increasing output and preparing for new models. Some 3-4 billion will be used for maintenance of the first and second plants, also in Laem Chabang, and for equipment replacement to prepare for new models.
The first and second plants presently have a combined annual capacity of 310,000 vehicles.
Once capacity is added at the third plant, the combined production of Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) will rise to 510,000 units by year-end.
Mr Murahashi expects exports to make up 70% of sales this year, as the industry normalises from last year's 60%. Domestic sales are estimated at 120,000 units this year, down from 129,460 units last year.
In January this year, the company sold 13,000 units, a surge of about 80% from the same month last year.
Mr Murahashi said the company plans to increase its showrooms and service centres by another 40 locations nationwide this year, up from 178 mostly in upcountry provinces, to serve new customers from last year.
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Writer: Piyachart Maikaew