The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) is establishing an automotive air conditioner business for supplying hybrid-electric vehicles.
According to the report, the company has secured orders from two major US automakers, and will begin mass-producing compressors at a Mie Prefecture facility in 2007. A high-volume production line is scheduled to go online the following year at a US subsidiary in the state of Indiana. Total investments are estimated at about ¥2 billion (US$16.8 million).
Mitsubishi is planning for initial annual capacity of 330,000 units in 2008, and then ramping up to more than 500,000 units.
The forecasts for automotive air conditioners used in hybrids project roughly a 2.5-million unit market in 2012, an eightfold increase from 2005.
MHI already supplies air conditioning systems for cars, buses and trucks. In 2003, the company entered a joint venture with Mitsui & Co. that established an automotive air-conditioner manufacturing and sales base in Shanghai, China.