Isuzu Motors plans to invest THB32bn (US$900m) in its Thai operations in the next five years, according to local reports citing a company official.

The source said the Japanese truckmaker planned to build a production line for battery powered versions of its D-Max pickup truck with commercial production scheduled to begin in 2025.

Thailand is the main global production base for the D-Max pickup truck, with output estimated at over 300,000 units in 2023 including MU-X SUV derivatives.

Isuzu had previously said it would initially target Europe with its battery-powered pickup trucks although demand in Asia might also be significant given the recent strong growth in battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales in Thailand, Indonesia and in other markets in the region.

The electric D-Max was expected to be powered by battery cells made by South Korea’s LG Energy Solution and a prototype trialled by Isuzu was understood to have a range up to 400km on a single charge.

The company said it would initially target commercial vehicle fleet operators.

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Isuzu is Thailand’s second largest vehicle manufacturer after Toyota and this latest investment will help the Thai government achieve its target of establishing the country as a major regional BEV production hub with zero emission vehicles accounting for 30% total vehicle output by 2030.