Great Wall builds electric cars in Thailand

The Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motor has started manufacturing electric cars in Thailand. The GWM Ora 03 has been in series production at the GWM plant in Rayong for a few days. The batteries are practically produced in-house.

Image: Great Wall Motors

The GWM Ora 3 is the model that, until recently (depending on the market), was marketed as the Ora Good Cat or Ora Funky Cat. At the end of November, Great Wall demoted its brands Ora (for BEVs) and Wey (for plug-in hybrids) to product names, and the brand has since reverted to Great Wall or the abbreviation GWM.

The Ora 03 model, also available in Europe, will be built in Thailand. It is not a risky investment decision for Great Wall, as the vehicle launched on the Thai market (still under its old name) in October 2021. Since then, the Chinese have sold over 10,000 units there – so the demand is certain.

Potential risks in the supply chain are also limited when it comes to production in Thailand, as, for example, batteries are practically produced in-house. Battery manufacturer SVOLT, which emerged from the car manufacturer Great Wall, started making battery packs in Thailand in December. According to the carmaker, SVOLT will cover the demand for 60,000 battery packs.

Great Wall itself considers the start of production historic: It is the first time that a Chinese OEM has mass-produced an electric vehicle outside of China – “a monumental breakthrough for both the Chinese automotive industry and the global automotive landscape,” the press release states.

For this statement to be true, it probably depends on the exact definition of a “Chinese OEM.” As reported, SAIC has been building the MG4 in Thailand since November 2023. However, the car factory is operated by SAIC-CP, a joint venture between SAIC Motor and the Charoen Pokphand Group. The MG4 from this plant could thus be considered a car from a Thai company.

Thailand has recently attracted numerous investments from the eMobility sector, albeit primarily from Chinese companies. Neta started production in December, and GAC Aion is planning an EV plant in the country. Changan also wants to build a large EV factory there. The situation is similar in the battery industry. SVOLT opened the aforementioned battery assembly facility and Gotion its factory in December. Eve Energy has also announced a battery factory in Thailand.


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