Kia Corporation plans to launch a new subsidiary company in Thailand at the end of January focused on importing and marketing vehicles in south east Asia’s second-largest vehicle market.
Hyundai Motor Group already has a direct presence in Thailand through the Hyundai brand with local sales last year estimated at around 3,500 units, mainly Staria minibuses as well as Creta compact SUVs and Stargazer compact MPVs.
Kia sales so far have been carried out by a local importer and distributor with around 1,000 Bongo trucks and Carnival MPVs combined estimated to have been sold in 2023.
The new subsidiary was expected to focus more on battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to tap into fast growing demand in Thailand.
Further details on the new company, including shareholdings and paid-up capital, will be released later this month.
Kia looks to have shelved plans to build a 250,000 unit/year vehicle assembly plant in Rayong province with reports suggesting it had failed to reach agreement with the Thai Board of Investment (BoI) on government incentives.
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An unnamed Kia spokesperson said: “The company will revisit the plan if the investment environment changes.”
Another spokesperson was reported to have said: “We have internally reviewed the possibility of securing a production base in Thailand to expand our sales in the ASEAN region but for now we are putting the decision on hold as it is not easy to secure business feasibility.”
The Thai government has set a target for 30% of vehicle production in the country to be zero emission vehicles by 2030. BEVs are estimated to have reached 75,000 units last year, or just under 10% of overall domestic sales, driven mainly by the entry of Chinese brands over the last two years.