The quest to make the Philippines a more attractive location for vehicle manufacturing has officially begun as the very first model under the government's Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program started production late last week.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) has announced that production of the Mirage G4 is already underway at the automaker's vehicle assembly plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna.

The Mirage G4 from Mitsubishi is the first model to start production under the CARS program, which also includes Toyota. Hyundai is currently in talks with the Department of Trade and Industry about their possible participation.

Production of the Mirage (hatchback model) will follow in May 2017.

MMPC, operating with a Php 4.3 million investment in the CARS program, aims to produce 25,000 to 30,000 units per 1 shift in 2017 and intends to expand its production to 100,000 units per year.

The Santa Rosa plant in Laguna, which sits on a 21.4-hectare property, has an annual capacity of 50,000 vehicles and currently employs 1,400 employees.