Chinese NEV leaders expand manufacturing in Thailand
Published: May 07, 2023 07:52 PM

An NEV charging station in Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi Province Photo: VCG

An NEV charging station in Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi Province Photo: VCG

Chinese new-energy vehicle (NEV) producers including BYD Auto and Hozon have expanded their manufacturing bases in Thailand in recent months, the latest efforts to expand their global foothold and deepen green transformation.

With advanced technology and complete supply chains, Chinese car makers have sped up their localization moves abroad, as the Southeast Asian countries have become the ideal overseas markets and a foundation for going global, experts said.

Shanghai-based carmaker Hozon has signed an agreement with a Thai auto assembly firm to produce its NETA V model starting in 2024, Thai government spokeswoman Tipanan Sirichana said in a statement on Saturday, according to media reports.

Also, from March 10 to April 30, Chinese car companies BYD Auto and SAIC Motor announced plans to build their first overseas passenger car production bases in Thailand.

The growing market foothold of China's NEV companies abroad is driven by the sector's complete supply chain and technology competitiveness, as well as rising need for the development of green energy, Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Among overseas markets, Southeast Asia has drawn attention because of the demand in the region and the strong competitiveness of Chinese car producers, Cui said.

In the first three months this year, China's auto exports increased 150 percent year-on-year, and NEVs were the main driver of growth, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Thailand is where Chinese NEVs have achieved their highest sales. Among the Chinese NEV companies exporting to Thailand, BYD Auto ranked first, with sales of 5,578 vehicles in the first quarter, according to media reports.

The launch of the BYD ATTO 3 in Thailand caused local users to rush to buy it in the middle of the night, and it became the sales champion of NEVs in the country in the first quarter. 

SAIC Motor announced on May 2 the construction of a new-energy industrial park in Thailand, focusing on producing localized key auto parts for NEVs.

The first phase will be completed within this year, and the overall project will be finished in 2025, according to the company.

"While our technology is still behind that of European and American countries in terms of making gas-fueled vehicles, our new-energy technology is at a relatively advanced level," Cui said, indicating that Chinese carmakers face good opportunities to expand NEV production and sales abroad. 

Because of their advantages in NEV manufacturing chain and technology, Chinese carmakers are highly likely to shore up their leadership in the green-driving sector, while Southeast Asia countries are an important part of their globalization strategy, the expert said.

Global Times