Vince Pornelos / Vince Pornelos | August 12, 2017 09:07
Mitsubishi Motors CEO confirms plans for local research and development center
Here are some exciting news for Mitsubishi's operations in the Philippines.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) CEO, Mr. Osamu Masuko, has announced to us that the company is evaluating the prospects of setting up a research and development (R&D) center in the Philippines.
The news came during a round table interview after the world premiere of the Xpander crossover MPV at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS). AutoIndustiya.com asked the Japanese chief executive if Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) can operate as another regional R&D center for the brand; this question was asked because the Xpander had significant part of its overall R&D take place in MPV-saturated Indonesia.
Surprisingly Masuko answered yes; they are looking into the prospect of MMPC becoming an R&D center for the region. MMC's CEO said that ideally, their plan is to have an R&D center partnered side-by-side with any of their significant manufacturing facilities around the world.
“We would like to have R&D facility in the countries where we have a manufacturing plant.” said Mr. Osamu Masuko, MMC CEO. “In the Philippines we have manufacturing plant, so we will set up an R&D center. We already have R&D center in Thailand and Indonesia.”
Being that Thailand is big on pick-up trucks (given the legislation and tax breaks there), many brands have regional development centers focusing on trucks, and some SUVs. Indonesia is a big multi-purpose vehicle (the modern successor to the AUV) market, and so brands develop their MPVs there and prove then in that market.
Masuko's input cited the conversation he had with President Rodrigo Duterte during the presentation of the Philippine-made Mirage G4 at Malacanan. During that conversation, Masuko said President Duterte requested four things from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation: (1) more investment into the Philippines, (2) an increase in employment opportunities, (3) a more significant technology transfer to build up the industry, and (4) provide more technical education to Filipinos.
An R&D center for Mitsubishi would satisfy all those requests from the President of the Philippines, as it would mean a larger investment, more jobs, more techology transfers, and elevate the technical abilities of local designers and engineers.
Moreover, if Mitsubishi's operations in the Philippines can incorporate an R&D center, it could elevate the profile of the company and the domestic industry to new heights. The current industry is based largely on imported completely built-up units (CBU), imported complete knock-down (CKD) kits, and some fully built models (including stamping), though many of the models produced in the Philippines are based on ones designed and engineered in foreign design centers.
An R&D center could change that.
Are you excited at the prospect of a locally designed, developed, and engineered vehicle?