February 27, 2017 / 11:22 AM / 7 months ago

Mitsubishi's Philippine unit to double output this year

MANILA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Motors Corp’s subsidiary in the Philippines will nearly double production to 40,000 vehicles this year as it jumpstarts participation in the government’s car manufacturing incentive scheme, its president said on Monday.

Growth in Philippine motor vehicle sales was the third fastest in Southeast Asia in 2016, but production is small compared with its neighbours.

Local production will hit 40,000 units this year, primarily due to the introduction of the Mirage hatchback and sedan models, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp President Yoshiaki Kato told Reuters.

Mitsubishi manufactures the Adventure SUV and L300 van in the Philippines. Its facility, south of the capital, has an annual capacity of 50,000 units and output was around 22,000 vehicles in 2016, company data showed.

The company is banking on increasing incomes and demand, and infrastructure development, in one of the world’s fastest growing economies, Mitsubishi First Vice President Dante Santos said.

Only Mitsubishi and the Philippine unit of Toyota Motor Corp have qualified for the government’s $600 million automotive incentive programme to boost output in the auto industry, which involves tax breaks.

Mitsubishi, the Philippines’ second largest selling automaker, has committed to invest 4.3 billion pesos ($85.6 million) to produce 200,000 units of Mirage in six years.

Kato said sales are targeted to reach a record 70,000 this year from around 60,000 in 2016.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales, editing by David Evans

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