BANGKOK, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- General Wall Motors (GWM), a leading automobile manufacturer of China, will start its production in Thailand next year with a capacity of 80,000 units a year, said Thailand's Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit on Wednesday.
"I spoke to the president of GWM's ASEAN operations Zhang Jiaming, and he said that GWM will improve and upgrade the automobile production lines capable of enhancing internal combustion engines and electric vehicles," said Suriya.
According to the minister, the company will have an annual production capacity of 80,000 vehicles and will begin with producing sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks.
GWM Thailand has registered a capital of 22.6 billion baht (715.88 million U.S. dollars) and will employ 3,435 people.
It also plans to manufacture key parts including batteries and transmissions for its electric vehicles.
Local content will form 45 percent of parts for its first model to be produced in Thailand, with proportion increasing to 90 percent within 2025.
Zhang also told the local media that GWM Thailand operation will establish a hub for research and development in Southeast Asia.
Suriya said that at present, Thailand has a production capacity of 2 million automobiles annually, half of them for export and the rest for local buyers.
GWM's investment would highly benefit local buyers because they would have more choices and local parts could serve its production, Suriya said.