SAIC Motor’s Thai joint venture began construction of a second vehicle assembly plant this week in the Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate in Thailand’s Chonburi province.
SAIC Motor-CP is 51%-owned by China’s SAIC Motor and 49% by the local Charoen Pokphand Group. It already has an assembly plant in the country with capacity to produce 50,000 passenger cars per year.
Thai production of MG cars began in June 2014 and, while local sales have fallen far short of capacity so far, volume has picked up in recent months. In the first nine months of the year local sales approached 6,000 units compared with 3,800 units in the whole of 2015, according to industry sources.
SAIC Motor-CP’s newly appointed CEO Shi Guoyong told local reporters the new plant will have the “most advanced” manufacturing technology to help ensure high standards of quality.
The factory will have an eventual production capacity of 300,000 units per year and will become a key global production location for right hand drive MG vehicles. Spending on the new plant is expected to reach THB40bn (US$11.4bn).
SAIC Motor-CP spent THB9bn on its first Thai plant after it was awarded an eco-car production licence along with a package of tax incentives by the country’s Board of Investment for an eventual production of 110,000 small cars per year.
MG last month announced the end of the very limited SKD final ‘assembly’ operations at the former MG Rover plant in Longbridge, England.