VinFast Auto, part of Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate Vingroup, said it planned to build a battery electric vehicle (BEV) assembly plant in Indonesia to supply right hand drive countries in south east Asia.

The news emerged during a visit to Vietnam by Indonesian president Joko Widodo during which he met with VinFast executives and visited the company’s main manufacturing complex on Cat Hai Island in Vietnam’s northern province of Hai Phong.

VinFast claims the plant has a current production capacity of 300,000 passenger vehicles and 500,000 electric scooters per year.

VinFast plans to begin selling its vehicles in Indonesia this year, starting with fully assembled imports from Vietnam. The company was said to have earmarked investment of US$1.2bn to build a plant in in Bekasi, a city just east Jakarta, and had indicated it had already identified a 200-hectare plot.

PT VinFast Indonesia marketing director Surachman Nugroho said the plant “will supply right hand drive electric vehicles to countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia”, adding that it will also assemble battery-powered two-wheelers. Initial production capacity will be 50,000 vehicles per year.

VinFast’s majority-owned Vietnamese taxi operator Green SM also said it planned to invest US$900m to expand into Indonesia and had already signed an alliance with Indonesia’s GoTo Gojek Tokopedia, the owner of Gojek transportation services, to help the company switch to BEVs.

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VinFast has also revealed plans to invest US$2bn to build a BEV plant in Tamil Nadu, southern India, to play a major role in that country’s switch to zero emission vehicles. The company planned to invest US$500m in an initial five year phase of the project, with construction scheduled to start later this year.

Last year the automaker began building a US$4bn 150,000 units/year BEV plant in North Carolina.

The company plans to sell its BEVs in 50 countries worldwide in the next few years.