Mitsubishi Motors has laid the foundation stone for its third and latest factory in Thailand, which will be built right next to its first and second factories. The new factory will begin mass production in March 2012, rolling out a new “global small car” with engines of 1.0 litre to 1.2 litres in size. The new Mitsubishi global small car is yet another “Thai Eco-car”, like the Nissan March and the recently unveiled Honda BRIO prototype.

The 16 billion baht factory will produce 150,000 of the Mitsubishi Eco-car annually and will employ approximately 3,000 employees. The factory is a built-up factory, which means it will handle pressing, welding, painting and assembly of the vehicle.

We only have the two sketches you see in this post for now, but the Eco-car will be unveiled in full at the Geneva Motor Show next year. Mitsubishi plans a starting price of about 400,000 Thai baht for the small car in Thailand.

“It’s my great pleasure that Mitsubishi Motors Thailand’s factory becomes a part of our Eco-car Project. This Mitsubishi factory will bring to Thailand many technologies for automobile production and lead to improve labor skills for auto industry as well as related industries,” said Thai minister Chaiwut Bannawat.

“It’s a great honor to have this memorable day for the construction of the third factory. From the beginning, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has strongly believed in Thailand’s potential as the production hub for global markets; now Mitsubishi Motors Thailand became the production base of our 1-ton pickup. We share the Thai government’s environmental concerns and we have made Thailand the global production hub for the “global small,” shared Mitsubishi Motors Corporation president Osamu Masuko.

It looks like Thailand has successfully expanded on its pick-up truck production hub status to one that is the center of production of a next generation of compact and fuel efficient vehicles (sedans and hatchbacks), through its Eco-car Project, which provides incentives to car companies that comply with Eco-car fuel efficiency rules. Even though our country is supposed to have the largest passenger car market around, Thailand seems to be proving a more attractive as a production hub for these compact hatchbacks.

Mitsubishi also announced that it is preparing for a future launch of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV in Thailand. They’ve started a joint study for fleet EV testing together with the government of Thailand, which includes researching the acceptability and marketability of EVs in Thailand, setting up user support systems, and expanding charging infrastructure, etc. Mitsubishi has similar agreements with the governments of Monaco, Iceland, Denmark and Singapore, among others.