About a month ago, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) officially announced that the Outlander PHEV will be arriving in the country by late 2020. There are no exact specifications yet, as well as suggested retail pricing of the soon-to-arrive plug-in hybrid. However, we won't be surprised if it will come with the same powertrain as the ones offered in Japan.
But where will Mitsubishi source the units of the PH-spec Outlander PHEV? If you said Japan, then you might be right as the company does produce it at the Nagoya plant. In the future, however, we could actually get it from a closer neighbor, Thailand.
That's because Mitsubishi Motors Thailand (MMT) recently announced that they will begin making the Outlander PHEV starting next year. This was made possible after the company invested about JPY 10 billion (about PhP 4.6 billion) at the Laem Chabang plant where the PHEV will be produced beginning in 2021. What's more is that the company also plans to begin selling the Outlander PHEV in Thailand as early as January of next year.
According to Nikkei, the automaker is looking at an annual output of 3,000 units a year, all of which will initially be sold in Thailand. But with the country serving as a hub for automobiles in Southeast Asia, could other markets in the region like the Philippines get their units from The Land of Smiles?
With no word yet from MMPC of where we'll get our units, perhaps the company might source it from Japan first since Thailand will only begin making it in 2021. But MMPC could eventually tap MMT to source units of the Outlander PHEV if they decide to start left-hand drive production, that way automaker will be able to take advantage of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) which can effectively drive down the price of the Outlander. Combined with the 50% tax break offered on hybrid vehicles thanks to the new excise tax, MMPC may be able to price the Outlander more competitively, which could allow them to sell more units of the crossover.
Until then, all we can do now is wait for the Mitsubishi Outlander's eventual arrival in late 2020. Fingers crossed that the plug-in hybrid will allow the company to flex its hybrid tech in the Philippines.