SAIC Motor-CP breaks ground on 2nd plant

SAIC Motor-CP breaks ground on 2nd plant

MG cars park at the construction site for SAIC Motor-CP's second assembly plant in Chon Buri province. The company says the new facility will use the most advanced technology.
MG cars park at the construction site for SAIC Motor-CP's second assembly plant in Chon Buri province. The company says the new facility will use the most advanced technology.

Despite gloomy economic conditions, Chinese-Thai joint venture SAIC Motor-CP Co has begun construction of its second assembly plant at Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate 2 in Chon Buri province.

Shi Guoyong, the newly-appointed president of SAIC Motor-CP, said the new facility will use the most advanced technology to ensure the highest quality of MG cars.

It will also help stimulate Thailand's economy, he said.

SAIC Motor-CP bought 438 rai of land for an undisclosed sum from SET-listed Hemaraj Land and Development Plc last November. It announced in May this year plans to build a second 700,000-square-metre facility, which would handle MG vehicle production processes such as body assembly, vehicle assembly and painting under one roof.

The investment cost for the second facility has not been disclosed, but it is estimated that 30-40 billion baht will be needed.

Founded in 2012, SAIC Motor-CP is a joint venture of SAIC Motor and Thai agrobusiness conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group. The Chinese company owns 51% of the venture.

The carmaker's first 9-billion-baht factory, with total production capacity of 50,000 units, was built in the Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate in Rayong and began operations in June 2014.

Chen Zhixin, president of the Chinese carmaker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC Motor), earlier said that Thailand is set to become a production hub for right-hand drive vehicles and SAIC Motor aims to make 300,000 units a year in the near future.

SAIC Motor-CP is one of 10 car firms that applied for phase two of the government eco-car scheme. It was granted Board of Investment privileges in November 2014 to make 110,000 eco-cars a year worth 7.6 billion baht.

The company says it is likely to come up with a clear production plan for its eco-car project by 2018.

Meanwhile, SAIC Motor-CP reported its MG sales rose 215% to 5,959 cars from January to September from four Thai-made models --MG3, MG5, MG6 and MG GS.

It aims to achieve sales of 10,000 vehicle sales in 2016 compared with 3,779 units sold in 2015 and only 300 units in 2014.

In a move to support its customers and resale prices, in August the company kicked off its certified used-car campaign.

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