Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has announced "two major milestones" in the expansion of its China joint venture business.
GAC Mitsubishi Motors (GMMC), the joint venture between MMC, Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) and Mitsubishi Corporation has begun production of 4B4 and 4J1 engines and also broke ground for a research and development centre for completion in 2020.
A new engine plant has capacity of 200,000 units and will build MMC's new 1.5-litre, direct injection, turbocharged petrol engine (4B4) for the Eclipse Cross SUV. The plant also will make the 4J1 engine for the locally-produced Outlander SUV.
"Producing the engines locally will enhance cost competitiveness and further strengthen market position in the world's largest automotive market. In addition to increasing employment at the new factory, the production will result in more jobs in the supply chain," the automaker said.
MMC will launch the Eclipse Cross in China to expand its product line, strengthen its SUV brand and support the local sales network.
GMMC has also agreed with local city officials to expand and relocate to a newly established R&D centre with a site area of 41 hectares, including a test course. The centre will further strengthen GMMC's technological development functions to meet the local market needs.
Based in Changsha, Hunan, GMMC was formed as a joint venture company in 2012 between Guangzhou Automobile Group (50% ownership stake), Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (30%) and Mitsubishi Corporation (20%). Its has 4,100 employees and is a sales and distribution platform for GAC and MMC-branded vehicles in China. The company has capacity of around 270,000 units per year divided between the Mitsubishi ASX and Outlander SUVs, as well as the GAC Eupheme and Eupheme EV. GMMC has about 300 sales and service locations across China.