GAC Aion New Energy Automobile, an electric vehicle (EV) maker under Guangzhou Automobile Corporation (GAC), the second-largest seller of EVs in China, plans to assemble its first battery EVs in June 2024 at the company's new factory in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
"We expect to assemble the Aion Y Plus, which was officially launched in Bangkok on Sept 9," said Gu Huinan, managing director of GAC Aion.
"The company has visited the EEC and will make a decision within days to select a province where its factory will be built."
The company needs infrastructure and facilities that can support its investment.
Covering parts of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao, the EEC hosts 12 targeted S-curve industries, including manufacturing of environmentally friendly cars.
The government wants to develop the EEC into Thailand's high-tech industrial hub.
Aion Automobile Manufacturing (Thailand), a subsidiary of GAC, earlier announced 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.
Mr Gu said GAC Aion is updating the EEC Office on its investment plans and is preparing to submit project details to the authorities for approval.
The company is considering adjusting its investment budget and annual EV production capacity plan.
According to Mr Gu, GAC Aion will import EV components to be assembled in Thailand under its first phase of business expansion. In the second phase, the company will start producing major EV parts to manufacture EVs locally.
In 2023, the company plans to sell 3,000 units of the Aion Y Plus in Thailand. This sports utility vehicle is priced between 1.06 and 1.2 million baht.
GAC Aion plans to swiftly expand its network of sales outlets throughout major cities in Thailand, including renowned tourist destinations, said Ocean Ma, managing director of Aion Automobile Manufacturing and Aion Automobile Sales (Thailand).
Up to 30 sales outlets have already been established, with 25 of them located in the Greater Bangkok area.
The company aims to build a total of 50 sales outlets and service centres by the end of this year.
Thailand is the first country GAC Aion has invested in outside China.
"We chose Thailand because of three factors: a major car manufacturing base in Asean, the fast-growing EV market with high purchasing power among buyers, and the government's policy to promote the EV industry," said Mr Gu.