Mitsubishi to benefit from EV growth with Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi to benefit from EV growth with Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi launches Outlander PHEV at 2020 Bangkok Motor Show and chooses Thailand as another production base for this model. Photo by Mitsubishi Motors Thailand
Mitsubishi launches Outlander PHEV at 2020 Bangkok Motor Show and chooses Thailand as another production base for this model. Photo by Mitsubishi Motors Thailand

Mitsubishi Motors Thailand launches its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) for the Thai market on Tuesday, entering the growing electric vehicle segment in Thailand in hopes of offsetting a year of stunted sales growth due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, equipped with two battery-powered motors mated with a 2.4L gasoline engine, will carry a price tag starting from 1,640,000 baht and topping out at 1,749,000 baht. It offers an electric-only range of 45 kilometres in addition to over 500km of hybrid range.

The sports-utility vehicle is Mitsubishi's first entry into the Thai PHEV and hybrid electric vehicle market, which the Thai Board of Investment reports as having grown 51% between 2018 and 2019 to 30,676 units.

The Outlander PHEV launch at the 12-day Bangkok Motor Expo, which starts Wednesday, came as the government decided to delay its vehicle trade-in proposal for further studies, following confusion over what types of cars - Evs and non-EVs - will be included in the scheme and when it will take effect.

President of Mitsubishi Motors Thailand, Morikazu Chokki, expressed support for the government initiative as a means by which to reduce global warming in conjunction with products like PHEVs.

Eiichi Koito, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors Thailand, was also supportive but noted that the policy details would have to be finalised before Mitsubishi would be able to determine impact on its business.

The vehicle's debut comes at the tail end of a tumultuous year for Mitsubishi, which saw its Thai sales decline to 45,600 cars from January to October, representing a 38% year-on-year decrease from 2019.

Nevertheless, Mr Koito expressed optimism for the company's business outlook, citing the trend of vehicle electrification and the relative strength of the Thai economy.

"Electrification is moving very fast, not only in Europe, but also in Asean," said Mr Chokki. Mr Koito later added, "The market has been incredibly strong here."

Mitsubishi has sold over 260,000 units of the Outlander PHEV in other countries since 2013, but the 37th Bangkok Motor Expo will mark its Thai debut. Previously produced exclusively in Japan, the model will now also be produced in Thailand.

Company representatives declined to comment on production capacity of the Thai plant and the possibility of exporting the Outlander PHEV to other regions.

Mitsubishi projects it will sell a total of 60,000 vehicles in Thailand by the end of 2020 but did not offer a sales target for the Outlander PHEV next year.

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