Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has laid the foundation stone for a third factory in Chonburi province, Thailand, adjacent to its first and second factories, which will start production in March 2012 of the "global small" 1.0-1.2-litre class compact vehicle that MMC plans to launch in fiscal year 2011.

Initial production capacity will be around 150,000 units, boosted later to 200,000, with around 3,000 new hires.

A Mitsubishi Motors spokeswoman in Tokyo told Reuters investment for the new factory is estimated at THB10bn while the company will spend another THB6bn baht to prepare it for production of the new car. The total spend is the equivalent of about US$535m.

The news agency noted that Mitsubishi Motors president Osamu Masuko has said he also wants to build the car in either China, Brazil or India, and produce an electric-only version of the model for developed markets by the end of 2012.

Mitsubishi said the "global small" will conform to Thailand's eco-car project, implemented by the Thai government with the objective of promoting investment in Thailand's automobile industry and reduction of dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. The "global small" will be positioned as an entry model in MMC's model lineup, and plans are to export the vehicle from Thailand to markets worldwide as a global strategic vehicle that corresponds to both market needs of emerging countries, for which demand for automobiles is expected to increase, and advanced nations, where vehicle downsizing is increasing in order to correspond to energy issues in addition to environmental awareness.