China’s Hozon to make EVs in Thailand

China’s Hozon to make EVs in Thailand

Plant will have initial capacity of 20,000 units a year for domestic and Southeast Asian sales

Hozon New Energy Automobile Co, also known as Neta Auto, launched its Neta V city car priced from 549,000 baht in Thailand last August.
Hozon New Energy Automobile Co, also known as Neta Auto, launched its Neta V city car priced from 549,000 baht in Thailand last August.

Hozon New Energy Automobile Co of China is preparing to start production in Thailand, becoming the latest electric vehicle maker to begin building a supply chain in the region’s top auto-manufacturing hub.

The Thailand plant will be built with local partner Bangchan General Assembly Co Ltd, according to chief executive Zhang Yong. The cars will be sold locally and exported to other markets in Southeast Asia.

Also known as Neta Auto in China, Hozon aims to sell 10,000 vehicles in Thailand as part of its goal of selling 300,000 vehicles this year. The company also has plans to enter the Middle East and Europe, though it has not revealed further details.

Hozon, which is backed by CATL, the world’s largest EV battery maker, on Friday broke ground in Khan Na Yao district of Bangkok for its first overseas car plant. Production set to begin in January 2024 with an annual capacity of 20,000 vehicles.

The Shanghai-based EV maker, which launched the Neta V model and set up its first showroom in the Thai market last year, also plans to start adding more models to its lineup in the near future.

Competition has been heating up in Thailand, Southeast Asia’s largest market for passenger EVs. The country has a comprehensive supply chain that feeds scores of factories, mainly owned by Japanese companies that produce internal combustion engine cars.

Last year, Thailand became the first country in the region to offer cash subsidies for imported passenger electric cars. Imported battery-powered models are also exempt from most import and excise duties until the end of 2023, though automakers wishing to benefit from the subsidies will have to commit to producing their cars locally beginning in 2024.

The government has said it wants 30% of the cars sold in the country to be electric by 2030, as part of its pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net zero emissions by 2065.

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