Still convinced that the Yen is undervalued? Japanese carmakers beg to differ. They think the Japanese currency became so expensive that it gets cheaper for them to build abroad and to import to Japan. We’ve reported that Nissan is moving the production of their Micra (called March in Asia) to Thailand. When they did this, The Nikkei [sub] saw “huge implications for the future of the Japanese auto industry as a whole.” It certainly looks like Nissan’s exodus to the Land Of Smiles (and occasional riots) started a trend.
The Nikkei [sub] reports today that Mitsubishi Motors is building a new plant in Thailand. With an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles, it will focus on small vehicles in Thailand. The plant should start making cars by the end of 2011. Says the Nikkei: “The plant will provide small vehicles to markets including Japan.”
Mitsubishi has a long tradition making cars in and exporting cars from Thailand. The company’s first export model was the Mitsubishi Champ, which went to Canada in 1988. Since then, exports have expanded to more than 140 countries worldwide, covering Europe, Australia, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
“Asia” can mean anything and everything. Once the cars are destined for quality-obsessed Japan, successfully making them in a low-cost country is considered as the Nobel Prize of the car business.