Changan announces plans for EV factory in Thailand
The Chinese car manufacturer Changan is investing the equivalent of 258 million euros in a plant for electric and hybrid cars and batteries in Thailand. It is to become Changan’s first vehicle plant for right-hand drive vehicles outside China.
According to the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), the plant will have an initial production capacity of 100,000 vehicles to be sold in Thailand and a number of other countries. There is no information on the schedule and the vehicles yet. The announcement only says that the investment is to create a production base for BEVs, PHEVs, REEVs (range-extended EVs) and batteries.
However, as the vehicles are to be purely right-hand drive (i.e. vehicles for left-hand traffic), the number of countries in which the products from the new plant can be marketed is limited. Since the countries in question are not only Thailand but also other countries in the ASEAN region, Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa, the potential market for Changan seems large enough to make a positive business case for the plant. Japan, other countries in southern Africa and India also have left-hand traffic, but they are not listed in the announcement.
Changan is China’s fourth-largest carmaker, with over two million vehicles sold in 2022, but is currently still heavily entrenched in the internal combustion world. Since Changan has hardly made an appearance in Europe so far – apart from a stand at the IAA 2011 in Frankfurt – the company is known to only a few in this country.
“Changan decision to invest in Thailand is a significant milestone in promoting the country as the world’s major EV production base,” says Narit Therdsteerasukdi, Secretary General of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI). “It also demonstrates the company’s confidence in Thailand’s infrastructure, market potential, proactive policy to promote a complete EV ecosystem, and comprehensive supply chain that is ready to support EV production.”
Recently, a number of Chinese carmakers have been attracted to Thailand: Hozon Auto’s Chinese electric car subsidiary Neta has already started building a plant in Thailand. BYD is also building an electric car plant in the country. Other electric car production facilities in Thailand are being built by Horizon Plus, a joint venture between Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn, Thai energy company PTT and Aiways.