Thai-Chinese joint venture SAIC Motor-CP plans to increase the number of charging outlets for electric vehicles to 500 next year as the firm is determined to strengthen the MG brand in the Thai EV market.
The plan was announced as the company officially launched a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in Thailand yesterday.
Zhang Haibo, president of SAIC Motor-CP and MG Sales Thailand, expects the plan will help pump up the EV industry in Thailand, which has gained support from the government.
SAIC Motor-CP will develop the charging outlets in two phases. The plan is to first set up the facilities at MG showrooms to serve customers, and then expand to other venues like office buildings and shopping malls.
"The company is in talks with prospective business partners, including real estate developers, shopping mall and office building owners who are interested in our charging outlet development plan," said Mr Zhang.
SAIC Motor-CP plans to set up 100 charging stations this year.
He said the company also plans to expand MG showrooms to serve demand growth, increasing the number to 170 by 2021, up from 150 branches.
SAIC launched the MG HS PHEV model in Thailand yesterday, the third country after China and Britain.
The company expects the sales volume should reach 800 units this year, thanks to the competitive price of 1.35 million baht per unit for the PHEV model as well as charging outlets to serve MG drivers.
Mr Zhang said his company is not concerned about the ongoing political conflict sparked by student-led protests against the government. He believes it will not seriously affect the domestic economy.
"Foreign investors view political problems as a short-term impact. Thailand has faced so many political problems that we are familiar with them," said Mr Zhang, adding the pandemic is a real worry.
Pongsak Lertruedeewattanavong, vice-president of MG Sales Thailand, said MG's total sales volume in the country from January to September was 18,699 units, an increase of 0.1% year-on-year.
Sales of sport-utility vehicles in the same period totalled 11,181 units.
SAIC Motor was China's first automaker to enter the global market, building a full value chain in automotive industry overseas, which includes innovative R&D centres, production bases, marketing centres, supply chain centres and financial companies.
The company's products and services have spread to more than 60 countries, with 750 marketing service offices worldwide.