Great Wall Motor is gearing up to increase its presence in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports. The Chinese automaker is planning to invest 22 billion baht (RM2.9 billion) into business expansion in the Kingdom, with local assembly set to begin next year.
The company is in the midst of upgrading the Rayong production facility it took over from GM earlier this year, and expects that upgrade works will be completed in the final quarter of the year. It will begin selling SUVs and pickups in the country early next year, but the long-term plan is to gain a foothold in the electric vehicle (EV) segment.
The automaker will not just build internal combustion engine (ICE) models but is looking at electrification intently, with plans to introduce hybrid and battery electric vehicles. The country’s industry minister, Suriya Jungrungreangkit, said the business plan would also create 3,435 jobs for the local populace.
He said Great Wall was continuing its investment in Thailand because of the state policy to promote the EV industry as well as the strong market potential in Thailand and ASEAN countries. He added that the automaker will have 45% local material content in its initial production next year, but would increase the percentage to 90% by 2025.
The Thai factory is the sixth overseas assembly plant for the company, and will provide it with a larger springboard for expansion into the ASEAN market. Earlier this year, Great Wall also agreed to purchase another GM plant, in India.