Mitsubishi Motors is considering building its first factory in the formerly communist and closed state of Myanmar, according to a report on the Nikkei Asian Review website.
Mitsubishi, one of Japan’s top 10 automotive companies, builds more than a million cars a year at more than a dozen plants and supply centres, and also has five research and development facilities.
The Asian countries in which Mitsubishi currently has manufacturing facilities include the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China.
In an interview with Nikkei, Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato says the automaker is deepening to commitment to Southeast Asia.
Kato says any move into Myanmar would involve “collaboration” with Mitsubishi Group, which owns 20 per cent of Mitsubishi Motors and has a presence in and deep knowledge of the Myanmar market.
In Japan, Mitsubishi Motors owns and operates five factories, and the company’s headquarters is in the capital, Tokyo.
The company recently announced a “large-scale investment” – of more than $75 million – in its Mizushima plant to manufacture its new electric “kei cars”, or light cars.
Mitsubishi is considering of developing the new “electric Kei-car” jointly with Nissan, a partner in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
The investment will be made in:
- the establishment of assembly and inspection equipment for the drive battery, which will be newly adopted;
- the expansion of stamping, welding and painting assembly facilities following a shift to in-house production of drive battery cases; and
- the line expansion for manufacturing EV platforms.
The company adds that it will use the grants from Okayama Prefecture to establish production capabilities with this investment, which will be partly borne by Nissan.
Mitsubishi says it will continue with its efforts in promoting electric vehicles in partnership with municipalities in Okayama Prefecture and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.