While the penetration rate of new energy vehicles in China will no doubt continue to grow in 2023, domestic manufacturers are accelerating their exploration of the Thai market. On March 10, BYD and NETA announced the construction of their factories in Thailand. Both sides said that the factory aims to produce cars for Thailand and ASEAN countries and other regions.
BYD’s Thai factory is located in the WHA Industrial Park in Rayong, an eastern Thai province, for the purpose of an electric vehicle production project worth 17.9 billion baht ($491 million). The factory covers an area of about 96 hectares, with an estimated annual output of 150,000 vehicles, which is expected to be officially put into production in 2024. It is worth noting that BYD delivered the 10,000th ATTO 3 at the same time as the groundbreaking ceremony of the new factory.
In August 2022, BYD announced its entry into the Thai passenger car market in conjunction with its local partner, RÊVER. The following September, BYD announced the signing of the WHA Industrial Park, saying that its first overseas passenger car factory would be located in the country. In November, the BYD ATTO 3 (named Yuan EV in China) was officially released, and on December 12, the sales volume of the model exceeded 10,000 units.
NETA’s new factory is located in Khan Na Yao, Bangkok, Thailand, which is the first overseas factory of the company to be put into operation, and will have an average annual production capacity of 20,000 vehicles. In addition, the cooperation agreement between NETA and Bangchan General Assembly Co. Ltd, an automobile assembly company, was signed, and both parties will establish a complete set of electric vehicle production processes including factory establishment and staff skills training.
According to NETA, in Thailand, the first stop of the company’s global expansion plans, it took only 15 months to establish a subsidiary in the country. The NETA V, its first model in Thailand, ranked second on the list of pure electric models with license plates in Thailand, while first place was occupied by BYD ATTO 3. The new factory provides a guarantee for NETA to deliver 10,000 units to Thai users this year.
Zhang Yong, co-founder and CEO of NETA, said that the company plans to expand its business to the Middle East and the European Union in the future. From January to February, 2023, NETA delivered a total of 16,000 new cars, of which the sales volume in February exceeded 10,000 units, up 41.5% year-on-year.
Thailand’s electric vehicle market is currently facing fierce competition from makers in China, Europe, Japan, and South Korea. However, Chinese electric vehicle brands have an advantage in terms of pricing and logistics, making them more attractive to Thai consumers. As a result, it is expected that there will be a rapid increase in the number of Chinese electric vehicles in Thailand. According to KResearch, the proportion of Chinese electric vehicle brands in Thailand’s market is expected to increase from 78% in 2022 to 85% in 2023.