Changan Automobile has announced it will invest 9.8 billion baht (US$ 285 million) in Thailand, to set up its first right-hand drive electric vehicle (EV) production base outside of China.
Chinese automaker Changan will invest $285 million or 9.8 billion baht in Thailand, with plans to invest a total of $581 million or 4 billion yuan over the next few years, according to the Thai Board of Investments and Changan Chairman Zhu Huarong.
The factory, to be located in the Eastern Economic Corridor, will begin production in 2024 with a capacity of 100,000 cars per year in the first phase, doubling to 200,000 in the second phase. The Thai plant will serve as Changan’s manufacturing hub for right-hand drive electric and hybrid vehicles and batteries, to be exported to several countries. Changan was ranked 15th in global EV sales in 2022.
The move is part of Changan Automobile’s global expansion strategy, as the company aims to become a world-class EV brand. The company has already established a presence in more than 60 countries and regions, and has sold over 10 million vehicles worldwide. In 2020, Changan Automobile ranked first in China’s EV market share, with sales of over 300,000 units.
Thailand is well-known as a major hub for conventional automaking in Southeast Asia, but it is also emerging as a leader in electric vehicle (EV) production. The country has attracted several global and regional players who are investing in EV supply chain, manufacturing and battery technology, thanks to its favorable government policies, strategic location, and skilled workforce.
BOI’s incentive plan
One of the key drivers of Thailand’s EV revolution is the Board of Investment (BOI), which offers various incentives for EV production of all types, including tax holidays, import duty exemptions, and subsidies. The BOI aims to promote EV sales, EV supply chain, and production in Thailand, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.
Some of the notable companies that have signed up for the BOI’s incentive plan include:
- Mercedes-Benz: The German luxury carmaker plans to start producing its fully-electric EQS model in Bangkok by the end of 2022, making Thailand its first location in Southeast Asia and one of only seven locations in the world to manufacture the high-performance lithium-ion batteries that power the vehicle.
- Toyota: The Japanese auto giant, which is the world’s and Thailand’s largest vehicle manufacturer, has announced that it will launch 10 new EV models in Thailand by 2025, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), battery electric vehicles (BEV), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).
- Great Wall Motor and SAIC Motor: The Chinese automakers, which have helped China become the world’s number one EV market by volume, have chosen Thailand as their regional manufacturing base for ASEAN. Great Wall Motor plans to produce 80,000 EVs per year in Thailand by 2023, while SAIC Motor aims to produce 50,000 EVs per year by 2024.
- BYD: Another Chinese EV maker, BYD has recently signed a deal to set up a facility in Rayong province to produce 150,000 passenger cars per year from 2024. The company also intends to sell 10,000 units in Thailand and export to Southeast Asian and European countries.