BANGKOK: China’s Great Wall Motor Co Ltd is finalising plans to invest up to US$30mil (RM138.5mil) to set up a new battery pack assembly plant in Thailand, where it will start making a compact electric car next year, according to a company official.
The Hebei-based company is also considering establishing a research and development centre in Thailand that could work on battery powered pick-up trucks, Narong Sritalayon, managing director of Great Wall Motor Thailand, said in an interview.
The automaker has 10 similar development hubs globally that focus on other technologies.
Investment in Thailand, which aims to become a regional electric vehicle (EV) production centre, would depend in part on government subsidies, Narong added.
Although China’s Great Wall and BYD Co Ltd have made large investments in Thailand, Japanese carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp and Isuzu Motors Ltd dominate the country’s domestic auto market, with pick-up trucks accounting for more than half of sales last year.
“I think there are a lot of things we can learn from Thailand’s unique market for pick-up trucks,” Narong said.
Thailand, the world’s tenth-largest auto manufacturing economy, aims to use tax cuts and subsidies to help convert about 30% of the country’s annual production of 2.5 million vehicles into EVs by 2030, according to a massive government plan. — Reuters