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Mitsubishi to unleash hit minivan across Southeast Asia

Indonesia-made Xpander to debut in Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia

The Xpander minivan, currently available in Indonesia, has far surpassed sales expectations since its debut in September.   © Not selection

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Motors is taking steps to roll out its highly popular Xpander minivan in all of Southeast Asia, encouraged by brisk orders in Indonesia.

The Xpander is a seven-seater minivan but looks like a sport utility vehicle from the outside. Mitsubishi produces the model in its first Indonesian plant, which opened last year, and sells it in the country. Since its September debut in Southeast Asia's most populous country, orders through March have surpassed 60,000, nearly double what the automaker planned for. 

Mitsubishi increased the production volume in October, and postponed a January debut of the model in the Philippines.

Now the company is moving to start shipping the Xpander to the Philippines and Thailand this month or next. The longer-range plan is to introduce the vehicle in Malaysia and all of Southeast Asia.

The Indonesia plant also produces the Pajero Sport SUV, and its annual capacity is 160,000 units.

Mitsubishi Motors aims to boost its Southeast Asian sales by around 50% from fiscal 2016 to 310,000 in fiscal 2019.

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