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Top Gear Philippines

Mitsubishi manufacturing plant in Cainta

As far as Mitsubishi Motors Philippines president and CEO Hikosaburo Shibata is concerned, the Philippines should have a more robust manufacturing industry with a bigger production volume than what is currently being churned out by the handful of automakers that have assembly plants here.

"Two or three years from now, I want MMPC to produce 50,000 units annually," he told at last night's thanksgiving party for the Mirage's recent selection as Philippine Car of the Year. Right now, MMPC's plant in Cainta, which started operations in 1964, makes around 15,000 units a year of the Adventure, the L300, the Fuso, and the Lancer.

Part of his plan is for MMPC to assemble a new Mitsubishi model soon, although he wouldn't say which model this might be.

"We support the Philippine government's road map that projects the local auto industry to sell 500,000 vehicles by 2020," Shibata said. But for that to happen, the Japanese executive pointed out that the country needs to have a strong manufacturing industry.

"Currently, it is very difficult to manufacture in the Philippines because production costs here are about 10% to 14% higher than those in other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand," Shibata shared. The Philippine government, he said, needs to be more protective of the country's manufacturers. "The Philippines is too open to imported products, to the detriment of local manufacturers."

Shibata also said that the Philippines will benefit more from being a manufacturing country than just relying on business process outsourcing (call centers).

"In the BPO industry, only those with a college degree usually get a job," he explained. "In the manufacturing industry, even those who did not finish elementary or high school can get a job."

Wow. We like this guy. The President should have a dialogue with him, don't you think?

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines president Hikosaburo Shibata

Vernon B. Sarne
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