Things are definitely perking up in Thailand where Mitsubishi Motors is concerned. The automaker says it is planning to more than double its production output in the country during the first half of 2012, to 450,000 units annually.

The company’s president Osamu Masuko made this announcement at a press conference in Bangkok late last week, stating that given the concentration of parts manufacturers, Thailand is the most important of its overseas production bases globally.

Mitsubishi’s two plants in Chonburi are to be upgraded, and will offer a combined output of 300,000 units, 50% more than currently, and a new third plant being built will offer a further production volume of 150,000 vehicles annually; the 45 billion yen plant will be responsible for producing the Global Small compact car, beginning next spring.

The Thai production base will also build the Navara pickup for Nissan at a rate of 60,000 units a year, with production to begin once expansion work is completed. All this is set to make the Thai site the company’s second-largest manufacturing centre after its flagship factory in Japan, located in Okayama Prefecture, which churns out 580,000 vehicles a year.