Home Economy Mitsubishi PHL eyes hybrid, plug-in launches amid zero tariff policy

Mitsubishi PHL eyes hybrid, plug-in launches amid zero tariff policy


MITSUBISHI Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) said it is studying the potential launch of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid EVs in the Philippines following the expansion of the coverage of Executive Order (EO) No. 12.

MMPC President and Chief Executive Officer Ritsu Imaeda said the company actively monitors developments in Philippine government policies.

“We are now very much studying the implementation of those hybrid or battery EV products with stronger momentum. So right now, we are working on that,” Mr. Imaeda said on the sidelines of the launch of the Mitsubishi XForce on Friday last week.

The National Economic and Development Board approved in May the expansion of the coverage of EO 12, which temporarily reduces tariffs on EVs to zero until 2028.

Aside from the 34 lines of EVs covered by EO 12, it will now also cover e-motorcycles, e-bicycles, nickel metal hydride accumulator batteries, e-tricycles and quadricycles, hybrid EVs, and plug-in hybrid EV jeepneys or buses.

However, Mr. Imaeda said the company does not anticipate launching HEVs or plug-in hybrids in the near future.

“In a shorter term, for the model that is going to come in next year, we are not expecting that to come,” he said. “But we are expecting it to come at a certain time. But the actual time, I cannot say when it is going to be.”

“We are intensively studying which is the most reasonable solution for this market. So, whether we should go for battery EVs, plug-in hybrids, or hybrids, there are decisions that we have to make that fit the market,” he added.

 He added that introducing hybrids or plug-in hybrids next year is possible but will be difficult. 

“If the miracle happens, then we can expect that. So the right timing and the right component are something that we are studying right now,” he said.

“Maybe it could be like 2026 or 2027; of course, at least, I would like to enjoy the two-year period of the zero tariff,” he added.

 He said that what is making the launch in the Philippines a bit difficult are government directives, infrastructure, and capacity issues.

“We acknowledge that the EV market is a bit too early for this market to implement in terms of infrastructure, uncertainty, and electricity supplies,” he added.

 Meanwhile, MMPC is projecting its sales for this fiscal year at 90,000 units amid increasing demand for its existing products and new products.

Mr. Imaeda said that the company recorded its highest sales last fiscal year at 81,500 units. The company’s fiscal year is from April to March.

 “So for this fiscal year 2024, we are aiming to go around 90,000 units,” he said on the sidelines of the launch of the Mitsubishi XForce on Friday.

 “The biggest driver is the wealthy demands coming from the customers. They are very proactive in buying cars. So that is very much supporting us,” he added.

 For their part, he said that to support this target, the company plans to push forward several product lines.

“We have several lineups that we would like to push forward, led by Xpander. We are also having good sales of Mirage, and we have the Triton, which we launched this January, which is also picking up right now,” he said.

 “On top of that, we have this new XForce. So it’s very difficult to say which product we are focusing on because we have a good balance in the sales for all of those products. So with all of those models, we are aiming to achieve 90,000,” he added.

 Mitsubishi launched on Friday a new compact sports utility vehicle, which will retail for P1.37 million for the GLS CVT variant and P1.58 million for the GT CVT variant.

 In terms of market share, Mr. Imaeda said that they are targeting to go over 20% from the 18.5% share last fiscal year.

 For 2024, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. and Truck Manufacturers Association projected sales to reach 470,000. 

 From January to May, MMPC sold 35,146 units up 16.4% from the 30,200 units sold in the same period last year, accounting for 18.78% of the total vehicle sales during the period. In May, MMPC’s sales increased by 7.3% to 7,318 units from the 6,822 units in the previous year.

 “So, yes, at least for this fiscal year, we are quite confident that Mitsubishi Philippines is going to be the number one in the ASEAN region again,” Mr. Imaeda said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

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