BMW to announce local EV battery plant plan
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BMW to announce local EV battery plant plan

An engineer works on the assembly line at an automotive manufacturing facility of BMW.
An engineer works on the assembly line at an automotive manufacturing facility of BMW.

BMW Group Thailand is planning to build an electric vehicle battery factory in Thailand this year to support its sales of battery EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs, competing with Chinese EV supply chains.

The investment budget and production capacity of the factory, which will be located in Rayong, will be decided soon, said the company.

"Given the presence of Chinese automobile brands and the Thai government's policy on EVs, we are on the process of deciding for the investment in the battery plant," said Alexander Baraka, president and chief executive of BMW Group Thailand.

Thailand will be the first country in Southeast Asia with a BMW EV battery production facility, following plants in China and Hungary, respectively, he said.

The company wants Thailand to be its export hub for battery production.

"BWW also plans to invest in EV production in Rayong, but a final decision will be determined by many factors, including market demand and the global supply of semiconductors," said Mr Baraka.

The Thai EV market is growing rapidly, thanks to government policies to promote the industry, aiming to make Thailand a regional hub of EV production.

Last week, the National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee resolved to endorse cash grants for local EV battery cell manufacturers. Energy storage systems were also promoted, with financial support from the Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

The government's EV policy has encouraged automotive companies, especially from China, to invest in Thailand.

The Chinese EV business expansion is causing global manufacturers from Europe, the US and Japan to adjust by offering cars at lower prices and developing their after-sales services.

Last year, BMW Group Thailand posted total car sales of 15,477 units, including cars under the BMW and Mini brands, a year-on-year increase of 4%. Sales of BMW Motorrad motorcycles tallied 1,079 units.

"Our battery EVs gained a market share of 15.5% of sales in Thailand," said Mr Baraka.

BMW Group Thailand is monitoring the impact of tension in the Red Sea on marine logistics and global supply chains, he said.

"This conflict is causing some short-term impact on BMW Group Thailand as the shipping of some auto components to Asia is delayed," said Mr Baraka.

"Our parent company can cope with this situation."

On the same occasion, BMW Group Thailand launched three BMW cars, including BMW iX2 xDrive30 M Sport, and three Mini Cooper models, including MINI Cooper S Countryman Highlands Edition. (Video by Jetjaras Na Ranong)

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