Mazda to study EV plan in Thailand
Mazda Sales (Thailand) Co is conducting a feasibility study into its plan to launch plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) in Thailand, and expects to debut new car models within five years to serve the growing market.
The Hiroshima-based company wants to seize the opportunity to market its EVs as the Thai government is promoting the use of more environmentally friendly cars as part of its efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
PHEVs and HEVs, which run on both electricity and oil, are believed to have a higher chance of healthy sales than battery EVs (BEVs), which are entirely powered by electricity, because the EV infrastructure in Thailand is currently insufficient for mass BEV usage, said Tadashi Miura, the newly appointed president of Mazda Sales Thailand.
Prospective car buyers are worried about the availability of EV charging facilities and the time needed to recharge their vehicles, he said.
"In my opinion, PHEVs and HEVs have the potential to grow, while BEVs need time to build demand as the charging stations are not available countrywide," said Mr Miura.
PHEVs and HEVs can also help Thailand reduce its dependency on oil, especially at a time when crude prices are soaring due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war.
In the view of Mr Miura, the Thai automotive industry should gradually move towards EV production as internal combustion engine technology still dominates domestic car manufacturing.
Mazda is interested in launching BEVs in Thailand, but a feasibility study must first be conducted.
The company has also teamed up with a university in Japan to jointly study a new type of biodiesel made by euglena, as it wants to make car engines that can be powered by this alternative fuel.
In Thailand, Mazda plans to strengthen its brand and further improve its services under a medium-term business plan to be implemented between 2022 and 2025.
The company is also adjusting its production plans in Thailand following a prolonged shortage of semiconductors, causing a delay in the manufacture of some car models, including those in its CX series.
As a result, Mazda is focusing on car models that use fewer computer chips, including Mazda 2 and Mazda 3.
Its cars are produced by factories run by Auto Alliance (Thailand) Co (AAT), a joint venture between Mazda and the automaker Ford.
AAT usually produces 120,000 cars a year for Mazda.
Mr Miura said the company will boost its sales through a trade-in programme, offering to buy old Mazda cars at high prices.
"We expect this campaign to draw 20-30% of owners of old Mazda cars this year," he said, adding that around 10 car dealers have already joined the programme.