SAIC Motor’s Thai joint venture, SAIC Motor-CP, said it plans to expand its local network of electric vehicle (EV) recharging outlets to 500 next year as it targets the emerging EV market in the country.

The Sino-Thai joint venture launched its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle this week, the MG HS PHEV priced at THB1.35m (US$42,250), the third country to get the model after China and the UK. The company is targeting 800 sales of the model by the end of the year.

The president of SAIC Motor-CP and MG Sales Thailand, Zhang Haibo, said he hopes the move will help the overall EV market in Thailand to expand. The company will initially install recharging facilities at its showrooms to serve its customers, with up to 100 outlets targeted by the end of this year. Next year, it will look to install recharging outlets in major buildings and shopping malls.

Mr Zhang confirmed his company “is in talks with prospective business partners, including real estate developers, shopping mall and office building owners who are interested in our charging outlet development plan”. The company also plans to expand its network of MG showrooms in the country to 170 in 2021 from the current 150.

Sales of MG’-branded cars in Thailand were just slightly higher at 18,699 units in the first nine month of 2020, despite a sharp decline in the overall market due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic.