Thailand's SAIC Motor-CP Co Ltd, a joint venture 51%-owned by China's SAIC Motor Corporation and 49% by the local Charoen Pokphand Group, plans to produce eco-cars at a new plant in the country.

Thailand's Board of Investment earlier this week approved the company's application to invest THB7.6bn (US$232m) in the 110,000-unit/year eco-car project.

The eco-car line will be part of a THB30bn investment in 200,000-units/year plant announced earlier this year.

The company is still looking in the Rayong and Chonburi areas for a suitable site for the new plant, with construction scheduled to start towards the end of 2015.

Wu Huan, president of the company, confirmed that 110,000 units of the new plant's overall annual capacity will be allocated to the production of eco-car, to be sold across the ASEAN region under the MG brand. The remainder of the plant's capacity will be used to produce other MG vehicles.

SAIC Motor-CP Co Ltd already has a 50,000-unit assembly facility in Rayong, which began assembling the MG6 model earlier this year. Local sales of this model have been disappointing so far. Only 300 units have been sold since its launch in June - well short of the full-year target of 2,000 units.

The MG3 will be assembled at the plant from next year.

Production at the second plant is expected to start in several years time, once the existing plant reaches full capacity.