BYD set to pursue state EV incentives
BYD is expected to be the latest Chinese automaker to take up the government's electric vehicle (EV) incentives when its sole distributor Rever Automotive Co signs an agreement with the Excise Department later this month for a tax reduction and subsidy that make the firm's "new energy vehicles" more affordable for Thai buyers.
After the agreement is signed, imported BYD cars will have an excise tax of 2%, down from 8%, in addition to zero customs already granted to Chinese-made cars, said Nutthakorn Utensute, spokesman for the Excise Department.
Each BYD car will also be eligible for a 150,000-baht subsidy, he said. The privilege package will take effect once Rever Automotive signs the agreement with the department later this month, said Mr Nutthakorn.
Toyota, along with Chinese sport utility vehicle manufacturer Great Wall Motor, SAIC Motor-CP and MG Sales (Thailand), the manufacturer and distributor of MG cars, have already received similar incentives from the government.
"Two more car makers from China already informed us of their intention to join the programme and two Japanese car companies also showed interest," he said.
The tax cut and subsidy incentives reduce prices of EVs, which are usually expensive, which limits their market. However, with more companies entering the EV segment, competition is intensifying for manufacturers and sellers.
"We see there are many rivals, but competition is not about car prices," said Pratarnwong Phornprapha, chief executive of Rever Automotive.
"Other factors such as car features, delivery and after-sales services are also crucial to attract customers."
Rever Automotive expects to launch Atto 3, BYD's new sport utility model, on Oct 10.
BYD received an investment privilege from the Board of Investment (BoI) to assemble battery EVs in Thailand on Sept 8, the same day it signed a land purchase contract with WHA Group to build a factory on a 600-rai plot at WHA Rayong 36 Industrial Estate in Rayong.
The approval from the BoI is a prerequisite for the company and its partner, Rever Automotive, to be granted the EV incentive package from the Excise Department.
The cabinet approved a package of incentives in February to promote EV consumption between 2022 and 2023. Participating car companies are committed to starting to produce EVs in Thailand from 2024.
Manufacturers that fail to keep the commitment must return the subsidy to the government and would be fined, based on the excise imposed on their EVs, said Mr Nutthakorn.
"We assemble EVs and are planning to build a battery production plant here in the next stage," said Ke Yubin, general manager of BYD Thailand.
He said the battery is called a "blade battery".
BYD expects to open its EV assembly plant in the third quarter of 2024, with annual production capacity of 150,000 EVs and a focus on domestic sales and exports to Asean, said Mr Ke.