Mitsubishi, pretty much given up for dead in the U.S. and Europe, thrives in an easily overlooked part of the world: South-East Asia. Mitsubishi has three assembly plants in Thailand, and will spend around $150 million to increase output.
January through August, Mitsubishi sold only 41,316 units in the U.S. and 48,166 units in Europe. At home in Japan, Mitsubishi sold 97,412 units in the first eight months. Meanwhile, pretty much under the RADAR screen, Mitsubishi’s cars are selling like hotcakes in the up and coming markets of South-East Asia.
Its three plants in Thailand will have a combined output of some 500,000 cars when the expansion is finished, the Bangkok Post writes.
Sales of the recently introduced Mirage are especially promising. In the Thai market alone, some 14,000 Mirages were sold from April-August. Orders for 36,000 units are on the books, and customers wait four months for delivery.
According to Nobuyuki Murahashi, president of Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand), 13,000 Mirage are built per month in Thailand- 4,000 for the domestic market and 9,000 for export, mainly to Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei.
Unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the sixth generation Mirage is a low cost, high MPG car. Fitted with a 1 liter 3 cylinder engine, it achieves 27.2 km / L in the JC08 cycle and costs around 1 million yen ($12,700).
Thailand is Mitsubishi’s main production hub outside of Japan, and many cars are exported to Japan. 2011, Mitsubishi built 603,594 units worldwide.