Chinese state owned automaker Chery is expected to announce plans to build an electric vehicle (EV) plant in Thailand in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to local reports.
Chery was preparing to apply to Thailand’s Board of Investment (BoI) for investment incentives in the coming weeks to produce Omoda and Jaecoo branded EVs in the country, once it finalises plans with a local joint venture partner.
The company was also waiting for the new Thai government’s National EV Policy Committee to approve the country’s EV 3.5 purchasing incentive programme which was expected to replace the current EV 3.0 which expires at the end of the year.
Qi Jie, Chery’s director in charge of Thai operations, said this week his company was in talks with potential Thai partners and expected to confirm plans in the next couple of months. One of the potential partners is Arun Plus, a subsidiary of Thai national oil and gas conglomerate PTT which already has an EV partnership with Taiwan’s Hon Hai Technology.
Jie said his company planned to launch two EV brands, Omoda and Jaecoo, in Thailand and expected local customers to respond well to the brands. In its first phase of expansion, the company wants to produce up to 18,000 EVs per year by 2025 with the JV partner. He said “the company is discussing with Thai companies investment in an EV manufacturing plant and its location”.
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Once brands were established, the company planned to build a large assembly plant with annual capacity for 50,000 units a year by 2026-2027. A significant proportion of those EVs would be exported to other markets in the region with the factory expected to be expanded to 100,000 EVs per year later in the decade.
Chery expected to have up to 20 Omoda & Jaecoo dealers operating in Thailand with around 30 showrooms and service outlets.
Jie said the plan was for Chery to produce EVs in Thailand for sales across the region while its Indonesian and Malaysian operations would make vehicles with internal combustion engines.