Mitsubishi's long-anticipated hybrid iteration of the Xpander has been a well-known project since its inclusion in the company's 2020 business plan. Recently, Japan's Nikkei has provided new insights, offering a tentative timeline for its launch.
As per Nikkei's report, production of the Xpander Hybrid is projected to commence in Thailand in early 2024. Thailand is poised to serve as a key hub for exporting the hybrid model to both Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern markets, setting it apart from the conventional petrol-powered Xpander, whose production hub lies in Indonesia.
This choice is likely influenced by Mitsubishi's existing local assembly of the previous-generation Outlander plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in Thailand. Nikkei's report further reveals Mitsubishi Motors Corporation's (MMC) expectations for robust demand over the next decade for their forthcoming hybrid offerings.
MMC anticipates that "emerging economies" will require time before fully embracing electric vehicles (EVs), mainly due to concerns about pricing and a lack of adequate charging infrastructure.
Moreover, Mitsubishi is also gearing up for the imminent launch of a new SUV, which is rumoured to include a hybrid variant. Speculation points towards this being the all-new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, possibly built upon the foundation of the recently introduced Triton.
Though Nikkei highlights Thailand as the designated hub for the Xpander Hybrid, there are reports suggesting Mitsubishi's contemplation of hybrid production in Indonesia as well.
This move would tap into Indonesia's substantial nickel reserves, a critical component in battery production, aligning with the global push towards electrified transportation.Mitsubishi has set ambitious global targets, aiming to increase the share of electrified vehicles in its sales to 50% by 2030 and ultimately phase out conventional petrol-powered vehicles by 2035.
Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Thailand, is pivotal for MMC, contributing a substantial 70% of the company's total operating income over the past half-decade, primarily driven by internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
Both Thailand and Indonesia carry historical significance for Mitsubishi as crucial export hubs. Thailand stands as the global centre for Triton production, while Indonesia plays a vital role in manufacturing the Xpander and the Xforce.
Simultaneously, Indonesia is set to witness a milestone with the assembly of Mitsubishi's first EVs outside Japan. The Minicab MiEV is slated for production in the archipelago by the close of the current year.
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