Mitsubishi to launch small car by 2013

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Japan’s fourth-largest car maker, has finalised plans to bring the new compact car it is building in Thailand to Indian shores in the next three years.

The company is looking to exploit the upper B+ segment, which has seen high demand growth since the launch of Maruti’s Swift, followed by several models like the Hyundai i20, Fiat Grande Punto, Maruti Ritz, Volkswagen Polo and Nissan Micra.

Mitsubishi Motors has laid the foundation stone for its third and latest factory in Thailand, which will be built right next to its first and second factories. The new factory will begin mass production in March 2012, rolling out a new “global small car” with engines of 1.0 litre to 1.2 litres in size. The new Mitsubishi global small car is yet another “Thai Eco-car”, like the Nissan March and the recently unveiled Honda BRIO prototype.

The 16 billion baht factory will produce 150,000 of the Mitsubishi Eco-car annually and will employ approximately 3,000 employees. The factory is a built-up factory, which means it will handle pressing, welding, painting and assembly of the vehicle.

The Eco-car will be unveiled in full at the Geneva Motor Show next year. Mitsubishi plans a starting price of about 400,000 Thai baht for the small car in Thailand.

Mitsubishi is building a new car from scratch, which would see mass production to the tune of 200,000 units per year from 2012. About 70 per cent of the plant’s output will be for markets outside Thailand.

The company plans to expand the India plant capacity to 100,000 units per annum from 12,000 units presently. It initially had plans to have a ‘world car’ from India, serving other emerging markets worldwide.

Source: BS & Paul Tan