Mitsubishi brass bullish on PHL

By Kap Maceda Aguila

MITSUBISHI MOTORS Philippines Corp. (MMPC) had a banner year in 2023, selling 78,371 units to retain second place among auto marques here. That figure allowed it to corner 18.23% of the market, paced only by perennial leader Toyota.

Buoyed by that performance and, perhaps, a handful of exciting models in key segments just around the corner, MMPC is looking toward outdoing itself this year — to the tune of 19% to 20% market share. This, of course, helps to underscore the importance of our market — as does the recent visit of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) Executive Vice-President for Sales Tatsuo Nakamura.

The official, along with MMC ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) B Division General Manager Minoru Kinoshita, recently met with some members of the media and content creators to convey their gratitude for the support, as well as to provide some insight into what’s in store.

MMPC President and CEO Takeshi Hara led off by reporting that the recently launched Mitsubishi Triton pickup was performing “great,” and that the company has been getting a lot of reservations for the model. “We’ll try to get more (vehicles), but there’s no problem with supply,” he stated. Mitsubishi reports that the Triton already has mustered a booking total of 3,000 units here, which stretches back to last year since people first got wind of the model’s arrival.

The bullishness of Mitsubishi’s business is apparently being centered in this region. Mr. Nakamura revealed, “In our relentless pursuit of excellence, we have strategically aligned our business overseeing the dynamic ASEAN market… We are concentrating our resources in ASEAN, of course including the Philippines, and keep preparing the introduction of new models year by year.”

He stressed that the Philippines is one of the most important and strategic countries in the region, and the business momentum is expected to be kept or even accelerated by the debut of the Mitsubishi Xforce in June.

The five-seater crossover has been specifically developed for the ASEAN market — as well as customers in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa — and will come from the production line of Mitsubishi’s Krama Yudha Indonesia plant. Fittingly, it debuted globally in that country — specifically at the 30th GAIKINDO Indonesia International Auto Show in August of last year, which “Velocity” had attended as a guest of Hyundai Motor Philippines to witness the debut of the Stargazer X MPV.

“The all-new Xforce is a five-passenger compact SUV that was developed with a focus on the way compact SUVs are used in the ASEAN region,” said MMPC in a release shortly after the global launch. Based on the concept “best-suited buddy for an exciting life,” the all-new model is said to feature “stylish yet robust, authentic SUV styling as well as comfort and practicality including a spacious cabin and versatile storage spaces well-balanced in a maneuverable, compact body size, and road handling that allows safe, secure ride in a variety of weather or road conditions.” In addition, the model boasts a Yamaha premium audio system developed with Yamaha Corp. in Japan.

The Xforce most recently debuted in Vietnam last January, and is said to have been getting a lot of interest. “In both countries, the Xforce has obtained high praise from the public,” revealed Mr. Nakamura.

Replying to a question from “Velocity,” MMPC EVP for Sales and Marketing Takanobu Suzuki said that the company is projecting annual sales of 7,000 units (or around 583 a month) for the model.

Concluded Mr. Nakamura, “We have full trust that the Xforce will be one of the pillars in the Philippine market… after the success of the new Triton.”