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NEWS UPDATES 21 August  2010

Mitsubishi eyes Philippine export hub

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Mitsubishi Motors is looking at the Philippines or Indonesia as an alternative export production hub in Southeast Asia, the head of its local subsidiary said.

On the sidelines of the third Philippine International Motor Show, Masa-hiko Ueki, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) president, said the company’s choice would depend on how fast the Aquino administration addresses the country’s high cost of power and its shallow auto parts production base.

“[Mitsubishi Philippines is] willing to export in the future,” Ueki said.

MMPC currently assembles the Lancer EX, the Adventure, the L300, Fuso Canter and FM trucks.

Ueki said the recent political unrest in Bangkok has unsettled their Japanese principal, forcing it to look for another production hub besides Thailand, which reigns as Southeast Asia’s top auto assembler.

Thailand churned out 768,994 four-wheeled vehicles in the first half of this year, dwarfing the Philippines’ output of 35,617 units in the same six-month period.

Ueki said Indonesia has advantages over the Philippines, citing the availability of locally made vehicle parts and a large domestic market.

“In the Philippines, it might be difficult to [assemble vehicles for export] because there are limited parts suppliers,” he said.

“Local suppliers must increase availability in order to support more volume for local [assembly],” he said, adding that, “Increasing our local production depends on how soon local suppliers can [ramp up theirs].”

The MMPC executive also said the Philippines’ power cost remains prohibitive. The country’s suffers from very expensive electricity, next only to Japan in the region.

Despite the Philippines’ poor competitive standing, Ueki said MMPC is delighted that the domestic market is continuously growing.

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