Late last year, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) awarded certificates to suppliers for CARS (Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy) program. Today, MMPC has just turned over the very first car built under to the program to President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacanan Palace. Also present during the turnover are Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) president Osamu Masuko.

MMPC's first car built under the CARS program is a Mirage G4. Under this program, Mitsubishi aims to provide more jobs in the country, not just through the plant, but through the 25 suppliers the automaker has chosen.

Mitsubishi presents first Philippine-made Mirage G4 to President Duterte

In the meantime, it will be the Mirage G4 that will be rolling off the automaker's assembly line in Santa Rosa, Laguna. By May, the Mirage Hatchback will soon be built locally as well. MMPC aims to 20,000 cars by the end of the year and by January 2018, a new stamping plant will begin operations. With the stamping plant fully operational in 11 months, MMPC expects production volume to go up by 50 percent.

With local assembly underway, this makes MMPC the manufacturer with the widest range of locally assembled products with four cars, namely the Mirage, Mirage G4, Adventure and L300. Under the CARS Program, MMPC needs to produce 200,000 cars in the span of six years, all for local consumption. Afterwards, the local plant will be allowed to build cars for the export market. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has since invested Php 4.3 billion to support the CARS Program.

In his speech, MMC president Osamu Masuko said, “Under the strong leadership of His Excellency President Duterte, there is a big potential of economic growth in this country”. MMPC president and CEO Yoshiaki Kato added, “The Mirage, now being produced in (the) Santa Rosa plant, brings pride to both MMPC employees and local parts suppliers. As a next challenge, we have to step up our Quality Cost Delivery programs to be competitive with other MMC production facilities”.

"Today, fresh from their plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, we're witnessing the rolling off of the first of the 200,000 Mirage cars from MMPC that will be locally manufactured under the CARS Program. Proudly, we can now say that the Mitsubishi Mirage, currently the second top-selling passenger car in the country, is made in the Philippines,” said President Duterte.

The president also thanked MMPC executives including MMC Chairman and CEO Osamu Masuko for the investment that will provide jobs to some 7,900 Filipinos and generate an estimated Php 5.72 billion. "Because of this collaboration, the first unit of the 'Made in the Philippines' Mirage has been manufactured using materials and supplies from local parts manufacturers and other related local industries in the country," added Duterte.

Referring to the planned excise tax adjustment, Duterte assured the local automotive industry that their concern will be given due consideration.

“We will ensure that its impact will be fair and supportive of your growth as participants in the CARS Program,” Duterte said.