Mitsubishi buys Ford manufacturing plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna

As it plans to increase sales
by Andrew Guerrero | Apr 1, 2014

Report: Mitsubishi to buy Ford's manufacturing plant in Laguna

After breaking its previous sales record in 1996 (36,533 units) with last year's 43,176 units, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) knows that it's time to further strengthen its production capacity. Yesterday, the company announced that it had acquired Ford Philippines' 21-hectare manufacturing plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna.

According to Japanese newspaper Nikkei, the Japanese carmaker bought the facility for about 10 billion to 15 billion yen (around P4.36 billion to P6.54 billion). MMPC plans to relocate from its 18-hectare plant in Cainta, Rizal, to this new site and start vehicle production by January 2015.

The last model manufactured in the Santa Rosa facility was the Escape compact SUV, which went out of production in 2012. This plant also used to manufacture other models like the Ford Lynx, the Ford Focus, the Mazda 3 and the Mazda Tribute. This plant has a capacity to manufacture around 40,000 vehicles annually.

The ASEAN market has been important to Mitsubishi's growth, and the acquisition of the Santa Rosa plant is part of Mitsubishi's "New Stage 2016" plan. The Japanese carmaker plans to increase its sales in five of its major markets in the region (Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam) from 270,000 vehicles in 2013 to 390,000 by 2016.

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In a press statement sent by MMPC, the company expressed eagerness for the government's automotive policy, which aims to strengthen local car-manufacturing operations to make it competitive against other Asian and ASEAN countries. "Strengthening car-manufacturing operations through this new automotive policy will eventually provide huge job employment opportunities not only to car assemblers, but also to the industry-related companies and businesses such as first-, second- and third-tier suppliers," the statement said.

"The acquisition of the Santa Rosa factory will further strengthen our assembly operations, utilizing heavy stamping machines, advanced equipment and engineering facilities that will support Mitsubishi Motors Corporation’s business objectives for the new midterm business plan," said MMPC president and CEO Hikosaburo Shibata.

In the Philippines, Mitsubishi is the second-best-selling car brand, behind only Toyota. The Montero Sport and the Mirage are among its fast-selling models.

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