SAIC opens EV factory in Thailand
The Chinese car manufacturer SAIC Motor has opened its first battery plant for electric vehicles in Thailand. The 12-hectare battery factory in Chonburi province has a production capacity of 50,000 units per year. It is divided into two main areas. The first area is for battery assembly, which is fully automated, and the second area is for battery standard testing, which involves more than 60 processes.
According to Zhao Feng, president of SAIC Motor-CP, a joint venture of SAIC Motor with Charoen Pokphand Group, 500 million baht (about US$13.9 million) has been invested in the plant. SAIC’s MG brand has been selling electric cars in Thailand since 2019 and has sold more than 18,000 units there so far. Meanwhile, another Chinese carmaker, Changan, is looking to set up shop in Thailand. Changan has now bought a 40-hectare plot of land in Rayong province for its announced car plant, which will build electrified cars for the Thai market as well as for export to neighbouring ASEAN countries as well as other markets such as Australia, New Zealand and the UK from 2025 with an initial annual capacity of 100,000 cars.
Gotion High-Tech, Neta and Aiways are also looking at setting up plants or already have set up production facilities on site, either to build electric vehicles or to assemble batteries. China’s carmakers are also currently making a big splash on the sales market in Thailand. According to the Thai Industry Association, Chinese brands account for more than 70 per cent of Thai electric vehicle sales in the first half of 2023.