Great Wall Motors (GWM) has now officially signed a share sales and purchase agreement with General Motors to acquire GM’s production facilities in Rayong, Thailand.

GWM said the move will make Thailand its ASEAN production base for domestic and export for new energy vehicles and internal-combustion engine models and plans to begin Rayong production in the first quarter of 2021.

GWM’s move to set up its production base in Thailand kicked off in February this year when the company started negotiation with GM to acquire, under a signed binding term sheet, GM Thailand and GM Powertrain Thailand legal entities, which include the Rayong vehicle assembly and powertrain facilities.

lliot Zhang, President, GWM ASEAN & Thailand, said: “While ASEAN automotive industry is clearly on its growth trend, Thailand has strong fundamentals as a leader in this industry and is regarded as one of the world’s best locations to establish an automobile production base, thanks to its readiness in terms of workforce and well-developed automotive ecosystem.

“Upon handover of assets as a result of the signing, this engine and vehicle production hub will be renovated and undergo system upgrades to become a smart factory by GWM’s global standards for an automobile production hub. It will boast GWM’s expertise and capability in SUV and pickup truck production, including advanced powertrain technologies, giving it the ability to produce internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and electric vehicles such as hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Moreover, it will be fully equipped with production automation innovations and technologies, such as AI, to maximize operational efficiency. GWM will also invest in production equipment and product research and development for Thai and Southeast Asian markets as well as skills development of the production workforce.”

Joseph Urso, Director of Corporate Development, Global Mergers & Acquisitions, GM International, commented: “GM is pleased to see that the world-class Rayong production facilities will continue to play an important role in the development of the Thai and ASEAN automotive industry and the broader economic development of the Kingdom of Thailand”.