Hottest auto stock in Asia Mitsubishi Motors surges 81%, thanks to its focus on Asean

TOKYO – Mitsubishi Motors shares have rallied 81 per cent this year, outperforming all its Asian peers, spurred by a demand revival for small cars and pickups in South-east Asia.

While Japanese car exporters have benefited from the yen plunging to a 24-year low, Mitsubishi Motors has also been helped by a product mix suited to emerging markets in Asia, where pent-up demand is being turned into purchases as economies reopen after the Covid-19 pandemic’s peak.

While half of this year’s 10 best performers among Asian auto stocks are from Japan thanks to the weak yen, Mitsubishi Motors’ gains are more than double those of any compatriot. Shares of Mazda Motor and Subaru have climbed more than 20 per cent, though Toyota Motor has dropped.

The core markets for Mitsubishi Motors include Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, making it “less vulnerable to the US economy’s slowdown than for peers Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru and Mazda”, said Bloomberg Intelligence senior analyst Tatsuo Yoshida.

Mitsubishi Motors, which is in an alliance with Nissan Motor and Renault, gets about a quarter of its revenue from the Asean region.

Asean markets are seen by many as bright spots in the receding global economy, with tailwinds from commodities, tourism and a high proportion of banks that are well positioned for rising interest rates worldwide.

Car buyers in the region are being lured by prices that reflect the yen’s tumble to the weakest in more than two decades, a by-product of the Bank of Japan having taken a diverging monetary policy to its more hawkish peers in the US and elsewhere. BLOOMBERG