Great Wall surveys potential EV buyers in Thailand
Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor (GWM) has started a campaign to promote electric vehicles (EVs) by jointly conducting a survey with the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) on Thai motorists' perceptions of the technology.
Some 77.7% of 1,000 car buyers from six provinces -- Bangkok, Chon Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Samut Prakan -- indicated they are open to learning more about EVs, according to the findings.
The interviews were conducted during November and December 2020, with most respondents (49.6%) living in the capital.
"Our campaign called 'Get to Know Thai Consumers' underlines GWM's consumer-centric strategy," said GWM Thailand managing director Narong Sritalayon.
The survey revealed the factors most likely to make Thais switch from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to EVs.
Environmental friendliness was ranked the leading factor at 22%, indicating Thai consumers are worried about PM2.5 ultra-fine exhaust particles emitted from ageing ICE vehicles.
Some 19% believed greater cost efficiency and more innovative technologies would convince Thais to switch to using EVs.
Respondents were also asked to give their opinions about EVs.
Some 29% of respondents believed EVs save energy and are more environmentally friendly than ICE vehicles, while 26.9% want cars equipped with modern technologies and innovations. A total of 17% thought EVs would be more cost-efficient in the long run.
The top three types of EVs garnering the most interest were battery electric vehicles (38.7%), hybrid electric vehicles (31%) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (30.4%).
However, 34.1% respondents said there is insufficient information for potential buyers to make an informed purchasing decision, 27.1% thought there were limited choices in the market, while 25.3% found it difficult to make price comparisons because there are too many sources of information, resulting in buyer hesitation.
Some 41.1% were worried about higher service fees; 29.5% were not confident in the quality of repair services; and 28.6% felt they would waste time travelling to service outlets too far from their home.
GWM wants to gain insight into consumer behaviour to help the government make Thailand a hub for EVs and an export base among Asean countries.
Surapong Paisitpatanapong, spokesman for the Federation of Thai Industries' automotive club, believes the Thai EV market will continue to grow because of government support.