The local subsidiary of Guangzhou Automobile Corporation (GAC), the second-largest electric vehicle seller in China, will spend 6 billion baht building EV and battery factories in Thailand over the next three to five years to use the country as its new production and export base.
“We are considering the location for the factories as well as production capacity to serve both domestic and overseas markets,” said Ocean Ma, managing director of Aion Automobile Manufacturing and Aion Automobile Sales (Thailand).
The company shares the same aim as the Thai government to make the country a regional hub for EVs.
The National EV Policy Committee announced in 2021 that it wanted EVs to constitute 50% of locally made vehicles by 2030.
Aion plans to build environmentally friendly production facilities locally to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the manufacturing processes in line with the policies of its Guangzhou-based parent and the global campaign against global warming.
Thailand is the first country in which GAC has invested outside China, said Mr Ma.
“Aion seeks to expand its business into Asean as the region has an EV growth potential, especially in Thailand,” he said, adding that the company aims to be among the top three EV brands in Thailand.
It plans to officially launch the Aion Y Plus EV in September. After that, the plan is to launch three models a year, said Mr Ma. GAC currently has a total of six EV models.
In the Chinese market, BYD is ranked first in terms of sales volume, following by GAC and Tesla.
During the first seven months of 2023, GAC sold 250,000 units in China, representing year-on-year growth of 120%.
Apichat Leenutaphong, founder and chief executive of Sharich Holding Co, a dealer for Aion, said his company plans to build 12 to 15 GAC showrooms.
So far, Aion has approved the construction of four showrooms.
Sharich Holding will spend 15-40 million baht developing each showroom, said Mr Apichat.