Mitsubishi Motors Corp. aims to invest THB16 billion ($532 million) in a new Thailand plant where it will start producing a global compact model in March 2012. The Tokyo-based Mitsubishi makes the i-MiEV electric car. The company says it will produce 150,000 units of the new model annually.
President Osamu Masuko recently said that Mitsubishi wants to export the small car to overseas markets including Japan and Europe. He said the sale price will be THB400,000 in Thailand for the car, which will be introduced at the Geneva auto show in March 2011.
The company said that annual production capacity at Mitsubishi's third Thai plant may eventually rise to 200,000 units. Mitsubishi added the new model will be an affordable, fuel-efficient car with a 1.0- to 1.2-liter engine that will be exported from Thailand.
Mitsubishi is adding the compact as competitors introduce new small cars to meet rising global demand, especially in emerging markets.
Toyota Motor Corp. started selling its new Etios compact in India in December 2010 and will also make the model in Thailand, where tax incentives and a population of 67 million are attracting investments from automakers.
Auto production in Thailand, Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, rose 76 percent to 1.35 million between January and October, the Thai Automotive Club, a trade group of automakers, said on Nov. 17, 2010.