Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor (GWM) aims to grow its electric vehicle business in Asean after developing an EV production base in Thailand, which is scheduled to start selling locally-made EVs this month.
The company is scheduled to announce its new business plan on Feb 9, detailing the investment budget and new car models produced at its factory in Rayong province, said Narong Sritalayon, managing director of GWM.
"This will be the next chapter of GWM in Thailand after the company entered the Thai market three years ago," he said.
GWM announced in 2020 it would spend 22 billion baht to invest in an EV production facility and renewable energy development.
From 2021 to 2023, the company launched nine EV models as it expanded into Thailand and Asean.
The company's accumulated car sales in Thailand and overseas are 1.4 million units.
GWM participated in the government's EV incentive package known as EV3.0 that offers tax cuts and subsidies to promote EV consumption and production between 2022 and 2023.
Participating companies are required to start producing EVs in Thailand from 2024.
Amnat Saenjan, vice-president for manufacturing at GWM, said the Rayong plant has total capacity of 120,000 units a year. The company aims to initially produce 80,000 cars a year.
"We will produce EVs, including Ora Good Cat, in line with our commitment to EV3.0," he said.
"This year we plan to produce 8,000 cars in the Ora Good Cat category."
Mr Amnat said the Rayong factory will produce three sub-models of Ora Good Cat: Pro, Ultra and GT.
Locally produced Ora Good Cat units will be ready for delivery to customers starting this month, he said. The prices of EVs produced in Thailand are 100,000 baht cheaper than those imported from China, said GWM.
The company also plans to participate in the government's second-phase EV incentive package, called EV3.5, spanning 2024-27. This scheme requires participants to start producing EVs domestically from 2026.
Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul, who visited the GWM plant for its opening on Friday, said the government will continue to support internal combustion engine car producers in tandem with its move to fuel growth in the EV industry.