Great Wall Motors to begin SUV and pickup production in Thailand next year

Great Wall Motors to begin SUV and pickup production in Thailand next year

KUALA LUMPUR: China's automotive giant, Great Wall Motors, has acquired the General Motors' Thai factory in February this year, intending to produce the SUVs and pickup trucks. The company described the project as a long-term plan, in which Thailand will be a production hub for different markets, including ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The recent meeting of Thailand's Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit and Zhang Jiaming, president of GWM's ASEAN operations, revealed more details about this project. "GWM will have an annual production capacity of 80,000 vehicles and will begin producing sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks in 2021," said Mr. Suriya.

Great Wall Motors pickup side front

With an investment of 22.6 billion baht and 3,435 personnel, the company has plans to upgrade and improve the production lines for manufacturing vehicles with internal combustion engines as well as electric motors. Besides, GWM Thailand operations will produce key parts for electric cars and establish a research and development hub in Southeast Asia.

"We want to finish modifying the assembly line at the beginning of next year, and if everything goes smoothly, the first production will be ready early next year," said the company's Vice President Steven Wang.

Without focussing on volume in the first few years, the automaker will launch two to three models initially and will emphasize building the brand and customer service to get a reasonable market share. For this, it needs to face stiff competition from incumbent Japanese companies, including Nissan and Isuzu who have been supplying SUVs and pickups in Thailand for a long time.

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"For us, our advantage to provide is a new technology, new design," Wang said while adding that the younger generation might prefer their technology offerings.

Currently, the Thailand market has an annual production capacity of 2 million automobiles, half of them for local buyers, and rest for export.

Talking about the Great Wall Motors vehicles in Malaysia, the company sells two models - H1 and H2 under the Haval brand.

Also read: Check out the teaser images of new boxy shaped Haval SUV

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