Mitsubishi Trucks Europe is planning to build a new Canter light truck at its Portuguese plant in 2004.
Mitsubishi is already negotiating with local suppliers about parts for the model, which will replace the current Canter built at Tramagal, 140km north of Lisbon.
Investment at Tramagal is expected to be E35 million.
The replacement Canter will gain a new cabin, but will still be in the current range of three- to seven-tons gross vehicle weight.
The current Canter has 86 European suppliers and Mitsubishi Trucks Europe is expected to retain most of them for the new model. Total European content, including the value of local labor, will remain at about 60 percent. Diesel engines and much of the cabin will be sourced from Japan. Spanish suppliers Mecobus and Emtisa will provide axles and frames. Some metal stampings will also come from Spain.
Portuguese supplier Simoldes will produce instrument panels, bumpers and batteries.
The new Canter will be produced at a rate of about 12,000 units a year in Portugal. Mitsubishi is expected to add 70 new workers by 2004, bringing the Tramagal factory's labor force to 420.
Mitsubishi Fuso, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Motors subsidiary, will begin building the new Canter in Japan a year before production starts in