Chinese automaker Changan Automobile has agreed to invest THB9.8bn (US$286m) in a Thai factory supplying electric and hybrid vehicles for domestic sale and export, according to the Board of Investment.

The Chongqing based, state owned company has planned a plant with initial capacity of 100,000 vehicles per year to supply Thailand and export to other ASEAN right hand drive markets plus Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.

Changan Auto joins a rising number of Chinese automakers, including Great Wall Motors, BYD Auto and SAIC Motor, to have chosen Thailand as a vehicle manufacturing hub for key overseas markets.

The company said it would produce three categories of electrified vehicles, including battery electric (BEV), plug in hybrid (PHEV) and range extender EV (REEV), plus the batteries.

It was scheduled to submit a formal application by the end of May.

Changan Auto is China’s fourth largest automaker, behind market leader BYD, with global sales of 2.34m units last year.

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By GlobalData

It is targeting 2.8m sales in 2023, backed by an aggressive new energy vehicle (NEV) product offensive involving the launch of 12 new models under the Changan, Deepal and Avatr brands, the last being a premium brand it established with Huawei and battery manufacturer CATL.

The company also has a vehicle production joint venture in Chongqing with Ford and Mazda.

BOI secretary-general Narit Therdsteerasukdi said in a statement: “Changan’s decision to invest in Thailand is a significant milestone in promoting the country as the world’s major EV production base.”

BOI said it had so far approved 26 separate EV industry investment proposals from 17 companies, valued at a combined THB87bn.

Another Chinese BEV maker, GAC Aion, part of state owned GAC Group, was also expected to submit a proposal by the end of the second quarter to invest THB6.5bn in Thai production.