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The Next Big Chinese OEMs: Which Companies Will be Setting Up Manufacturing Bases in Thailand by 2025?

Several Chinese automakers, known for their expertise in electric vehicle (EV) technology, have set their sights on Thailand as a strategic location for expanding their production capabilities. With plans in motion to establish or enhance EV manufacturing facilities in the country by 2024-2025, these companies are poised to revolutionize the automotive industry landscape in Southeast Asia.


1. Changan Automobile:

- Plans to invest around 10 billion baht ($290 million) to establish an EV production facility.

- Production is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2025.

- Initial annual production capacity will be 100,000 units.


3. GAC Aion:

- Plans to start production in the third or fourth quarter of 2024.

- Intends to invest 6.2 billion baht ($180 million) in an EV plant in Chachoengsao province.


4. Omoda & Jaecoo (Chery Automobile subsidiary):

- Plans to build a new EV factory in Rayong, Thailand.

- Production is set to begin in 2025 with an initial annual capacity of 50,000 units, increasing to 80,000 units by 2028.


5. Hozon New Energy Automobile (Neta Auto):

- Launched its first overseas EV plant in Thailand in December 2023.

- Large-scale production is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2024.

- The facility has an expected annual capacity of 20,000 cars.


6. Great Wall Motor:

- Already operates a plant in Rayong province producing its Ora brand of EVs.

- Plans to build a battery factory and an R&D center in Thailand.


These investments are part of a larger trend of Chinese EV manufacturers expanding into Thailand, with over $1.44 billion in investments planned. The Thai government is actively promoting EV production, aiming to have EVs account for 30% of the country's total vehicle production by 2030. This influx of Chinese automakers is expected to boost EV popularity in Thailand, which is the second-largest car market in ASEAN.


Chinese EV automakers are moving to Thailand for several key reasons:


1. Government incentives: Thailand offers generous subsidies, tax breaks, and other incentives to attract EV manufacturers as part of its goal to have EVs make up 30% of vehicle production by 2030.


2. Established automotive industry: Thailand has a well-developed automotive sector with an existing supply chain, skilled workforce, and infrastructure, making it an attractive base for EV production.


3. Strategic location: Thailand serves as a hub for accessing the broader Southeast Asian market, which is seeing rapid growth in EV adoption.


4. Large domestic market: With a population of nearly 70 million and a growing middle class, Thailand offers a significant local market for EVs.


5. Lower production costs: Manufacturing in Thailand can help Chinese companies reduce costs compared to production in China.


6. Avoiding trade barriers: By producing in Thailand, Chinese automakers can benefit from preferential trade agreements with other ASEAN countries.


7. Escaping competition in China: The hypercompetitive EV market in China is pushing automakers to seek growth opportunities abroad.


8. Supportive policies: Thailand's government has been actively promoting EV industry development, creating a favorable environment for foreign investors.


9. Raw material access: Thailand offers easier access to raw materials and components needed for EV production.


10. Market share opportunity: Chinese EV makers see a chance to gain market share in a region traditionally dominated by Japanese automakers, who have been slower to transition to EVs.


These factors combined make Thailand an attractive destination for Chinese EV manufacturers looking to expand their global presence and production capabilities.



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