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Mitsubishi eyes profit in SEA

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Mitsubishi Motors CEO and representative executive officer Takao Kato said his company will start production of a plug-in hybrid vehicle in Thailand and will also consider production in Myanmar. AFP

Mitsubishi eyes profit in SEA

Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp hopes to increase its operating profit in its main market of Southeast Asia to a record 100 billion yen ($940 million) per year after fiscal 2025, CEO and representative executive officer Takao Kato said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Mitsubishi Motors is also mainly in charge of the Southeast Asian market in joint venture with Renault SA of France and Nissan Motor Co Ltd. In January, it will start production of a plug-in hybrid vehicle in Thailand and will also consider production in Myanmar.

In fiscal 2019, Mitsubishi Motors’ operations in Southeast Asia had an operating profit of about 64 billion yen. In Japan, the US and Europe, however, sales were sluggish, leaving the company with its first net loss in three years. “The omnidirectional expansion strategy was unreasonable,” Kato said.

The company will reduce fixed costs by 20 per cent over the next two years. In Japan, the company has decided to close a plant in Gifu prefecture that produces the SUV model Pajero. Regarding two other plants that produce finished vehicles, “production line restructuring is possible,” he said.

Meanwhile in Vietnam, Binh Dinh provincial People’s Committee chairman Ho Quoc Dung said authorities in the central coastal province will offer attractive policies and mechanisms to support Mitsubishi Motors Vietnam Co Ltd – the automaker’s vehicle distributor in the country since 1994 – in building an automobile manufacturing factory at Becamex Industrial Park.

Dung said this at a meeting with Mitsubishi Motors Vietnam CEO Kenichi Horinouchi on June 6.

Horinouchi said his firm is seeking an area in Vietnam for its second automobile manufacturing factory. The first one is in the southern province of Binh Duong.

He said Binh Dinh has advantages of a deep-water port, so it is determined to be the top choice of the company. In addition, it has complete transport infrastructure, which is convenient for goods transportation.

The province covers a large land fund, which is very convenient for the construction of auto part factories for the automobile industry, he said.

Dung said Binh Dinh is a key economic province in Vietnam’s central region. Quy Nhon Port is the most convenient international trade gateway between the Central Highlands region and neighbouring countries of Cambodia and Laos, and other countries around the world.

Binh Dinh is a little over 19km from Cambodia at its closest point.

Dung said: “The province has six industrial parks. The largest one is Nhon Hoi Economic Zone with an area of over 14,000ha.”

In a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue in Hanoi in January 2018, Mitsubishi Motors Corp executive vice-president Kozo Shiraji said its second factory in the country would cost approximately $250 million, with a manufacturing capacity estimated to reach 30,000-50,000 cars on an annual basis.

THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN, VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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