Mitsubishi Thailand Exports 1,000,000 Pickups  

by Anthony Fontanelle

Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) Co. Ltd. (MMTh) announced yesterday the successful export of 1,000,000 pickups. The automaker also introduced its new Triton Million Edition - a customized domestic model. It can be recalled that the automaker announced the completion of the million-pickup goal after hitting its million-unit milestone involving all vehicle types last June.

Mr. Michiro Imai, the President of MMTh, was earlier quoted saying: "This success has not only proved the company's capability and potential in exports but has also shown that Thai-built Mitsubishi vehicles are of top quality. Its acceptance by customers worldwide is a credit to the skills of Thai people, and to Mitsubishi's advanced technology, which give the Triton the attractive appearance, performance, and comfort it is known for. The Triton has become a symbol of MMTh's drive to excel and take its place as a world-leading automaker. Today's success is doubtless another step on that path, as well as a further step for Thailand toward becoming 'the Detroit of Asia'."

"As pleased as I am with our current achievements, none would have been possible without the support of the Thai people, especially the government sectors who support our infrastructure and automobile industry policy, suppliers who provide high quality and punctual delivery, and logistic companies who also support that punctual delivery," Mr. Imai added.

The Japanese automaker's existence in Thailand can be reckoned back in 1961. MMTh started manufacturing light-duty trucks and later expanded to sedans for domestic markets. Eventually, the parent company Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Japan made the Thailand operation a production base for exports around the globe. This inked the first time in the history of Japan's auto industry that the manufacture of pickup was based outside Japan. To note, it was also a first for Thailand.

In 1998, the Champ was the first export model of the Mitsubishi Precis radiator manufacturer. The Champ headed to Canada. In 1989, the Japanese automaker went to export the Mitsubishi L 200 Cyclone pickup to Portugal. Since then, exports have expanded to more than 140 countries around the world.

Territories covered by Mitsubishi's exportation goals include Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Over the years, all Mitsubishi pickups such as the Cyclone, L200 Strada, and the Triton, have been manufactured at the automaker's production base at Leam Chabang Industrial Estate.

In Japan, the Triton was originally named Mitsubishi Forte from 1978 to 1986. The use of the name was discontinued in favor of the Strada. But for most export territories, the L200 name is used.

The fourth generation Triton, built by the automaker's subsidiary in Thailand and introduced in 2005, was designed by Akinori Nakanishi. The new generation pickup, still just two years old, has already received more than ten awards both domestically and internationally.

Last year, total pickup exports from Thailand totaled 133,109 units. This year, the automaker ups the sales target at 140,000 units.

About the Author

Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.