Mitsubishi Motors reaffirmed its commitment to manufacturing in the Philippines by announcing a PHP812m (US$20m) spend to expand transmission manufacturing capacity and to tool up to assemble two new models.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) is the country’s second largest vehicle manufacturer after Toyota, with domestic sales of 34,915 units last year and a market share of just over 19%.

The company told local reporters that it expects to assemble the Mirage small car and a “box-type” commercial vehicle – probably an MPV, later on. It plans to increase vehicle capacity to 50,000 units per year by the end of 2013, from 30,000 at present, and to 100,000 units within five years.

The company’s Asia Transmission Plant (ATP), which produces transmissions and engine assemblies, will also be expanded as it targets exports to Thailand as well as growing domestic demand.

MMPC president and CEO Hikosaburo Shibata noted that, last year, locally-assembled models accounted for just 42% of its total sales in the country as a result of ASEAN market integration, down from 96% in 1997. 

Shibata called on the Philippine government to do more to attract investment in automotive manufacturing in view of the significant long-term term growth potential of this market.