Mitsubishi Motors joined the Renault-Nissan alliance a year and a half ago in the aftermath of a scandal involving rigged fuel-economy data. If it is to play a prominent role in the alliance, the company needs to continue growing in the Southeast Asian market, where its French and Japanese partners have struggled to compete.
The company’s Thai unit, which was founded in 1987, on June 4 marked the cumulative production of 5 million vehicles. “Our Southeast Asian business is a weapon enabling us to contribute to the tripartite alliance,” said Osamu Masuko, CEO of the Japanese automaker. “We will take the initiative in expanding operations in this region.”
The Xpander minivan released in September has been a huge hit in Indonesia. Designed to look like a sport utility vehicle but with three rows of seats, the model is expected to help the automaker more than double its sales in the country to 137,000 units in fiscal 2018 from fiscal 2016.