BMW is considering Thailand as a regional production base for electric vehicles, according to sources within the Thai government.

The German automaker is said to have enquired about investment privileges for production of environment-friendly vehicles, including hybrid and electric cars.

Thai Industry Minister Chaiwuti Bannawat, said after a meeting at BMW’s Munich headquarters earlier this week that the automaker is planning to test its Mini E electric vehicle in selected markets in the near future, including Hong Kong, with a view to selling its Mega City Vehicle later on.

"I will discuss this issue with the Ministries of Finance and Energy and the Board of Investment (BoI),” Mr Chaiwuti said.

Mr Chaiwuti also said that BMW plans to add more models to increase production at its Thai plant in Rayong, which has a production capacity of 6,000 units per year on a single shift. It currently makes the 3-, 5- and 7-series models. The company is targeting output of 3,000 units this year, up from around 2,000 units in 2009.

Tony Pugliese   

See also: THAILAND: BMW targets 60% 2010 volume growth