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JAPAN: MHI eyes 10m turbochargers a year

By Graeme Roberts | 7 August 2013

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is adding global turbocharger production capacity, targeting an ultimate 10m units a year.

It will start with a JPY11bn spend on overseas production to boost its worldwide capacity from the current 5.8m to 8.9m by 2015.

Tighter fuel economy rules have resulted in rapidly expanding global demand for turbochargers.

In addition to capacity expansion, the company wanst to develop next generation turbochargers as a means of developing new markets.

Planned innovations will be a 'new concept turbocharger' achieving the world's highest efficiency level and an 'electrically driven two-stage supercharging system (turbocharger)' enabling further downsizing of petrol engines.

For these projects, Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe, MHI's wholly owned production base in Europe, will become the supplier's second development base, offering local customers enhanced development support.

MHI will further automate production, particularly those in Japan. It will also develop a flexible production structure with four focal points – Japan, North America, Europe and Asia - to strengthen cost-competitiveness.

Final assembly will be performed at bases close to each product's market. By creating a local support structure, the company will be able to respond to diverse market needs precisely and with short delivery schedules, it said.

A "significant" portion of the JPY11bn spend will be allocated to Mitsubishi Turbocharger Asia, the wholly owned turbocharger subsidiary in Thailand, to boost production of cartridges, the core components of turbochargers. Annual cartridge production capacity will be increased more than 2.5-fold by 2015 through substantial expansion of parts processing lines and cartridge assembly lines. The cartridges produced at MTA will be supplied to MHI's final assembly bases in Europe, China and elsewhere.

Additionally, because demand for turbochargers is also increasing from automobile and truck manufacturers with production bases in Thailand, final assembly lines will also be substantially increased, to double capacity by 2015.

Shanghai MHI Turbocharger , a turbocharger production and marketing company originally established jointly by MHI, Sumitomo Corporation and Shanghai Diesel Engine, became a consolidated subsidiary of MHI this June through acquisition of a portion of shares formerly owned by Sumitomo Corporation. MHI now plans to increase SMTC's capital and to progressively expand its production lines, boosting capacity roughly threefold by 2015 and fourfold in 2016.

In the US, MHI is currently establishing a turbocharger production facility in Indiana within Mitsubishi Engine North America, a wholly owned engine and turbocharger marketing subsidiary with production starting in autumn 2014.

The US plant will be a key base in MHI's global turbocharger production structure with initial capacity of 600,000, to be progressively doubled by 2016.

Sales will be targeted at the major US auto manufacturers and the North American plants of Japanese and European automakers.

MHI said tighter fuel efficiency regulations in the US – for example, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) have boosted demand for turbocharged engines, especially petrol versions.

"In light of this market trend, MHI will continue to make necessary investments in a quest to attain the top share in the global market for automotive turbochargers," the supplier said.