Chinese automaker Chongqing Sokon Motor plans to build an assembly plant in Thailand to produce battery-powered commercial vehicles in partnership with a local company, according to local reports citing a company executive.

Sokon is understood to be in partnership talks with its local Thai distributor, Planet EV, to build a plant to produce a range of battery-powered pick-up trucks and vans. The two companies signed a distribution agreement earlier this year with the aim of selling 1,000 commercial BEVs in the country in 2024 imported from China. They have also agreed to and to also build a network of 1,000 BEV chargers in the country.

Sokon will join a growing list of Chinese automakers that have chosen Thailand as a spring-board into overseas markets, targeting strong local demand and to export mainly right-hand drive vehicles to other markets in South-east Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and even the UK. Battery electric vehicle (BAV) sales in Thailand are expected to rise almost fourfold to over 70,000 units in 2023.

David Luo, sales director at Chongqing Sokon Motor, told local reporters “we see a good business opportunity and high growth potential for commercial EVs in Thailand and in the Asean region. We are confident that demand for commercial EVs will increase as these economies grow”.

Sokon already makes passenger and commercial vehicles in Indonesia in limited volumes at a local plant located some 50km west of Jakarta, managed by its local subsidiary PT Sokonindo Automobile.

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By GlobalData