GWM to double EV investment in Thailand

Yusin Hu, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Narong Sritalayon, managing director at Great Wall Motor (GWM) Thailand, told Nikkei Asia that the company plans to invest a total of THB22.6 billion (US$62.5 million) in manufacturing EVs, EV parts, and EV infrastructure in Thailand.

The Chinese carmaker has invested THB12 billion in ramping up EV production in Thailand after acquiring an auto assembly plant from General Motors in 2020.

GWM Thailand's sales this year have beat forecast. According to Nikkei Asia, the Federation of Thai Industries projected EV sales to reach 10,000 units in 2022, but GWM Thailand has scored 11,796 units so far this year thanks to government subsidies.

GWM is now the biggest EV seller in Thailand, said Nikkei Asia. As for charging infrastructures, it expects to have a total of 12,000 fast-charging stations across Thailand by 2030.

Thailand's EV potential

The automotive industry in Thailand has been far more developed than that in its fellow countries of the ASEAN.

Last December, Ford Motor Company made the largest single investment in Thailand to modernize its manufacturing facilities there. The investment reached US$900 million, including setting up new technologies and systems to support production of the next-gen Ranger pickup trucks and Everest SUVs, according to the US carmaker.

The investment would bring Ford's total investment in Thailand to THB100 billion over the 25 years since it first set up production there.

The carmaker has a wholly owned company, Ford Thailand Manufacturing, and a joint venture, Auto Alliance (Thailand), with Mazda Motor Corp, in Thailand.

The Bangkok Post reported in October this year that Mercedes-Benz Thailand is also in talks with the Board of Investment (BoI) on a new EV project, which will have a focus on producing luxury EVs in Thailand, following a previous investment project already approved by the BoI that included building an extension of the exiting car plant and a new battery assembly site for plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs).

China-based BYD has also acquired land in the WHA Rayong 36 Estate in the Rayong province, eastern Thailand and planned to produce at least 150,000 units of EVs there. The THB17.9 billion (US$491.5 million) project was approved by the BoI in August, 2022, according to Reuters.

The Excise Department of Thailand was cited by the Bangkok Post this month as saying that 10 EV manufacturers have signed up for the government's EV subsidy scheme, including motorcycle manufacturer Thai Honda. The scheme amounts a total of THB2.9 billion and runs until 2025.

China-based Neta is expected to sign a similar deal with the department this month, the reports said.