Chinese sport utility vehicle manufacturer Great Wall Motor (GWM) vows to start producing battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in Thailand in 2024 as part of its 22.6-billion-baht investment to strengthen its business and make the country an EV production and research hub.
"It is possible to make our ORA Good Cat in Thailand. The company currently imports this model from China to sell here," said Elliot Zhang, president of Great Wall Motor Asean and Thailand.
ORA Good Cat is in the BEV category and runs completely on electricity. The model was launched in Thailand late last year and recorded sales of 462 units.
The company sold a total of 3,702 cars in Thailand in 2021.
Mr Zhang said the company expects to invest in battery production by 2023 to serve its EV assembly.
"We will gradually improve our batteries, electric motors and spare parts," he said.
This year, GWM wants to continue expansion of its business in Asean, with Thailand positioned as the regional headquarters. The company is prepared to set up an EV factory in Rayong to support car sales in Thailand and Asean. GWM also operates in Laos, Cambodia and Brunei.
"We want to expand our business in Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore as we enter more markets in this region," said Mr Zhang.
The company announced earlier it would launch nine EV models between 2021 and 2023 to serve buyers in Asean.
The National EV Policy Committee announced in March last year a goal to have EVs constitute 50% of locally made vehicles by 2030, part of an ambitious plan to make Thailand a regional EV production hub.
Narong Sritalayon, managing director of Great Wall Motor (Thailand), expects domestic car sales in Thailand to reach 820,000-850,000 units this year, 8-12% growth from last year.