Mercedes-Benz preps BEV for next year
Mercedes-Benz Thailand plans to begin local production of the first battery electric vehicle (BEV), the EQC, in 2021 after the car maker agreed with the Board of Investment (BoI) to import the first batch to be sold here this year.
The EQC SUV is scheduled to be showcased in March at the Bangkok International Motor Show, with booking open.
Mercedes-Benz earlier said the plan was to postpone EQC introduction from 2019 because the BoI had yet to approve its plan to import 500-600 cars to be sold in Thailand after the car maker won investment incentives for assembly at a factory in Samut Prakan.
The BoI said Mercedes-Benz applied for a project to assemble a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) worth 607 million baht and the BEV project worth 342 million baht.
Under the BoI's conditions, makers of BEVs are allowed to import zero-emission cars with an exemption from import duty. The duty for cars is up to 80% of the declared price.
Roland Folger, president and chief executive of the local distributor for the German luxury brand, said Mercedes-Benz is working with the BoI to import the first batch of 250 EQCs to be marketed locally.
"We want to import as many as we can," he said. "Thai motorists can experience zero-emission cars under this tax scheme."
Mr Folger said Mercedes-Benz does not take benefits from the imported cars in order to sell at the same price as locally assembled cars.
"But it is Mercedes-Benz's bridging strategy that the first launch sells and markets with imported cars, then the car maker begins local assembly a year later," he said. "Meanwhile, the retail prices are unchanged."
He said the government can provide other benefits for motorists such as free parking, no highway tolls and driving in bus lanes. Motorists should not carry many burdens when deciding to buy BEVs.
Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce two mid-size PHEVs of the GLC 300 e in March.
Mr Folger said Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 16,000 PHEVs since the first model was launched in 2016.
In 2019, Mercedes-Benz's PHEVs accounted for 25% of local sales.