Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor (GWM) plans to start making eight electric vehicle (EV) models at its factory in Rayong in the first quarter of next year to serve soaring EV demand, which is expected drive total EV sales in Thailand to 100,000 cars in 2024.
The first model to be manufactured locally is the compact Ora Good Cat, said Narong Sritalayon, managing director of Great Wall Motor (Thailand).
Sales of Ora Good Cat in Thailand totalled 8,500 units, while up to 15,000 Haval sport utility vehicles have been sold.
"We are deciding on our EV production capacity under an investment privilege package granted by the Board of Investment," said Mr Narong during the recent launch of Tank, an off-road EV.
The company plans to manufacture EVs for domestic sales and export, he said.
GWM spent 22.6 billion baht building an EV factory located in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), as well as EV charging facilities, showrooms and an R&D centre.
The company wants to grow its business and support the Thai government in building the EV industry, said Mr Narong.
The National EV Policy Committee announced in 2021 it wants EVs to constitute 50% of locally made vehicles by 2030, part of an ambitious plan to make Thailand a regional EV hub.
GWM expects total EV sales in Thailand of 70,000 units this year, increasing to 100,000 next year.
Vudhigorn Suriyachantananont, vice-president for marketing at Great Wall Motor Asean, said the company will continue to increase its showrooms, both those run by the company and its business partners, to reach 78 this year.
GWM also wants to increase its EV charging facility network to cover 55 areas this year, helping the government develop the EV ecosystem here, said Mr Vudhigorn.
The company expects bright sales prospects for its Tank off-road EV in Thailand. The model should gain a 5% market share this year, increasing to 8-10% in 2024, according to GWM.