GM sells off factories to Great Wall
US car giant General Motors (GM) has agreed to sell its Rayong manufacturing base to Great Wall Motors of China.
The two firms signed a binding-term sheet for the transfer of GM Thailand's vehicle assembly factory and GM Powertrain Thailand's engine plant to Great Wall this year.
GM will cease Chevrolet vehicle sales in Thailand later this year but will provide ongoing after sales, warranty and repair work for more than 300,000 Chevrolet customers through its authorised service outlets.
Andy Dunstan, GM president for strategic markets, alliances and distributors, said the company had explored a range of options to keep Chevrolet in Thailand. But without a domestic manufacturing footprint, it was not viable for Chevrolet to compete in the Thai market.
"GM had undertaken a detailed analysis of the business case to allocate a new vehicle programme to the Rayong site. However, low plant utilisation, forecast domestic and export volumes impacted the business case significantly," said Mr Dunstan.
"The decision to wind down manufacturing and sales operations in Thailand is consistent with GM's global strategy and internal capital allocation framework."
Liu Xiangshang, vice president for global strategy at Great Wall, said acquiring GM's Rayong facilities would help develop the Chinese automaker's business in Southeast Asia, including Thailand.
"Great Wall will expand through the entire region with Thailand as the centre, and export vehicles to other countries as well as Australia," he said, adding the investment will create more jobs locally and boost industry skills as well as the supply chain.