Aion Automobile Manufacturing (Thailand), a subsidiary of Guangzhou Automobile Corporation (GAC), the second-largest electric vehicle (EV) seller in China, plans to spend 6 billion baht building EV and battery factories in Thailand over 3-5 years, using 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 goal as the Thai government -- to make the country a regional hub of EVs. The National EV Policy Committee announced in 2021 it wants EVs to constitute 50% of locally made vehicles by 2030.
Aion plans to build environmentally friendly production facilities here to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing processes, in line with the values of its parent firm and the global campaign against global warming.
Thailand is the first country GAC has invested in outside China, said Mr Ma.
"Aion seeks to expand its business into Asean as the region has EV growth potential, especially in Thailand," he said. "The company aims to be a top three EV brand in Thailand."
The company plans to launch its EV model Aion Y Plus in September in Thailand.
Mr Ma said Aion will launch three models a year. GAC has six EV models.
In the Chinese market, BYD ranks No.1 in terms of sales volume, followed by GAC and Tesla.
During the first seven months of 2023, GAC posted total EV sales of 250,000 units in China, representing year-on-year growth of 120%.
Apichat Leenutaphong, founder and chief executive of Sharich Holding Co, a car dealer for Aion, said his company plans to build 12-15 GAC showrooms this year. Aion has approved the construction of four showrooms.
Sharich Holding will spend 15-40 million baht developing each showroom, said Mr Apichat.