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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  29 July 2015  

Mitsubishi Motors plans Japan, ASEAN, Russia focus

THE president of Mitsubishi Motors Corp said Japan, Southeast Asia and Russia will become the automaker’s principal production hubs after it calls time on making cars in the United States later this year because of dwindling output there.

“Japan, ASEAN (countries), and Russia will be the main points of production for our company,” said Tetsuro Aikawa, President and Chief Operating Officer of Japan’s sixth-biggest automaker.

Aikawa was speaking at a news conference on Monday after his company confirmed plans to end output at its sole North American plant in Normal, Illinois, and serve the US market from factories in Japan and Thailand. Shares rose more than five per cent as investors welcomed the switch.

The shift comes as Mitsubishi Motors increasingly focuses output in Southeast Asia, where its pickup trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are popular. The automaker currently makes cars in Thailand and the Philippines, and said in February it will build a new factory in Indonesia for vehicles such as its Pajero Sport SUV.

Aikawa said the move to pull the plug on the Normal factory – opened in 1988 as a joint venture of Mitsubishi Motors and its then-partner, Chrysler – was prompted by low-volume production rather than shifts in foreign exchange rates making exports from Japan cheaper. At its peak in the early 2000s, the Normal plant built more than 200,000 cars a year, while in calendar 2014 it produced 69,178 Outlander SUVs. In the fiscal year ended March 2015, the company’s US sales totalled 82,000, compared with a global total of around one million.

Aikawa said on Monday he thought finding a buyer for the plant would be relatively easy because demand for cars in the buoyant US market was strong. The automaker is still looking for potential buyers for the US plant to preserve jobs for the 900 hourly workers at the plant, Aikawa said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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