Trade Trends News
China's Great Wall Motor (601633.SS) is betting on Thailand in the early 2020s, acquiring a General Motors (GM.N) plant and spending 22.6 billion baht ($647.38 million) to make it a regional production hub in Thailand.
The automaker will start production of its popular compact Ora Good Cat EV in Thailand next year, along with its subsidiaries MIND Electronics, HYCET and Nobo Auto, which make electronics, powertrain and seats.
Chinese rival SAIC Motor (600104.SS), which owns MGCC, has partnered with Thai firm Massive Group to launch its first electric car in the country in 2019.
The company said in April it would invest 500 million baht to expand its existing electric vehicle parts and battery manufacturing plant.
Chinese electric car giant BYD (002594.SZ) is investing 17.9 billion baht to set up a new plant in Thailand to produce 150,000 passenger cars a year starting in 2024, some of which will be exported to Southeast Asia and Europe.
China's Hopewell New Energy Vehicles is also partnering with Thailand's Bangchan General Assembly to produce electric NETA V models there starting next year.
In The Pipeline
The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI), which has been seeking Chinese automakers, said several deals are also in the pipeline.
State-owned Chongqing Changan Automobile, which has partnered with Ford (FN) and Mazda (7261.T), will invest 9.8 billion baht to build its first right-hand-drive electric car plant outside China, according to the BOI.
Guangzhou Auto Aion, a subsidiary of state-owned automaker Guangzhou Automotive Group (GAC), plans to invest more than Bt6.4 billion to produce electric cars in Thailand, BOI said.
China's Chery Automobile [RIC:RIC:CHERY.UL], which debuted its self-developed electric car in 2009, is "very interested" in investing in Thailand and plans to enter the market early next year, according to the BOI.
Chongqing Changan, Guangzhou Auto and Chery did not respond to requests for comment on their Thailand plans.
Chinese automaker Geely is also in the early stages of planning its entry into Thailand, including weighing imported and locally made models, Reuters reported in May.
The influx of Chinese models appears to be helping drive the popularity of electric vehicles in Thailand, Southeast Asia's second-largest auto market.
Citing industry data, BOI said more than 31,000 electric vehicles were registered in Thailand in the first half of 2023, more than triple the number for all of 2022.
The price gap between electric and internal combustion engine vehicles has also narrowed, partly due to government subsidies.
According to the company's website, the cheapest version of Thailand's best-selling electric car last year, the Great Wall Motor Ora Good Cat, now sells for about 828,500 baht, while Hozon's NETA V sells for 549,000 baht.
On the Toyota (7203.T) Thailand website, the Corolla Altis is priced at 894,000 baht and the Yaris Ativ is priced at 549,000 baht. (1 USD = 34.9100 Baht)
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