Text by Iñigo S. Roces and photos by Manny Llanes
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation is preparing for the local assembly of the Mirage and Mirage G4 models in 2017 as part of its commitment to the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program. To show its commitment, the auto manufacturer has awarded 25 certificates to the local parts suppliers who will play a major role in the production of the vehicles.
A total of 25 suppliers were awarded certificates. This is just the first batch of suppliers who have confirmed their involvement under MMPC’s Local Parts Manufacturing Program.
The CARS program, approved by President Aquino during his term, was conceived to encourage local car assembly through incentives. Under the program, auto manufacturers may apply for fiscal support by locally assembling vehicles with a commitment to produce 200,000 units within a period of six years. Fiscal support will be given in the form of tax payment certificates to be used to offset the participating car companies’ tax and duty obligations.
The program hopes to generate new jobs, bring in fresh investments, stimulate local demand and revitalize the Philippine automotive industry.
With its participation, Mitsubishi hopes to fully maximize its new Santa Rosa, Laguna plant, which it recently transferred to in 2015. The plant currently manufactures LCVs like the L300 cab and chassis as well as the Adventure AUV. With the addition of the two Mirage models, it hopes to triple its production to meet the plant’s 50,000 unit annual capacity.
Mitsubishi Motors, Corp. (MMC) has invested P4.3 billion to support the CARS Program., including a new stamping plant in the 21 hectare facility. MMPC has started a second shift operation in preparation for the higher production output. An additional 500 assembly workers were hired for the second shift. MMPC says that additional manpower will be required when the stamping plant is operational by early 2018.
As for the parts suppliers, providing components for vehicles that are part of the CARS program is hoped to triple their current demand as well as jobs. Special guest, Board of Investments Governor Henry Co, thanked Mitsubishi for giving the suppliers “the recognition they deserve” and remarked how the CARS program “greatly benefits the parts suppliers and industry as a whole.”
Mirage and Mirage G4 Production begins in early 2017. An initial batch will be sent to MMC’s facilities in Japan for a quality audit before the first official rollout in February of next year. The locally produced cars are currently slated for the local market as MMC mulls the feasibility of exporting the Philippine-made Mirage. If approved, the Philippines could become a regional model production hub for the entire ASEAN market.
The 25 suppliers provide a variety of parts for the Mirage, from rubber weather strips, to batteries, to more complicated components like the electronic power steering system and wiring harnesses.
These are: AGC Automotive Philippines, Inc.; Autocarpets, Inc.; Autoliv Cebu Safety Manufacturing, Inc.; B4 Manufacturing Corporation; Daiwa Seiko Philippines Corporation; Denso Philippines Corporation; Enkei Philippines, Inc.; F-Tech Philippines Manufacturing, Inc.; Harada Automotive Antenna (Philippines), Inc.; Hella Philippines, Inc.; Inoac Philippines Corporation; JT Pencorp, Inc.; Koyo Manufacturing (Philippines) Corporation; Manly Plastics, Inc.; NHK Springs Philippines, Inc.; Nitto Denko Philippines Corporation; Oriental and Motolite Marketing Corporation; Philippine Aluminum Wheels, Inc.; Reydel Automotive Philippines, Inc.; Roberts Automotive and Industrial Parts Manufacturing Corporation; Tri-R Allied Industries, Inc.; Valerie Products Manufacturing, Inc.; Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing, Inc.; and Yokohama Tire Sales, Inc.
The awarding of the certificates was headed by MMC General Manager for Philippine Business office, Ken Kataoka; MMC Manager for Global Procurement, Toshihiro Ito; Sojitz Corp. Assistant General Manager, Junya Masuda; and MMPC President, Yoshiaki Kato. Present were the Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary, Ceferino Rodolfo; BOI Governor, Henry Co; Assistant Secretary and BOI CARS Program Director, Romulo Manlapig; and Embassy of Japan Trade and Commercial Attache, Junichiro Suzuki.