Changan To Open Its First Overseas Production Hub In Thailand

This new Thai factory is expected to churn out 100,000 Changan EVs annually when completed. 

It would seem that there might soon be another Chinese auto heavyweight in town, with Changan Auto having recently announcing the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Thailand to produce its cars. Coming as part to ambitious $10 billion (RM 48 billion) overseas expansion plan, this new Thai plant will be the automaker’s first factory to be situated outside of its home market. 

Situated at the WHA Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate in the same Rayong province as Great Wall Motor’s Thailand base, this new Changan factory has been reported by Reuters to be primarily focused on producing right-hand drive variants of the Chinese automaker’s EVs and PHEVs. These new cars will hence be sold in right-hand drive markets like Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and while not explicitly mentioned in the report, Malaysia too at some point in the future. 

The Chinese automaker has first indicated its commitment to open in a facility in Thailand at the Shanghai Motor Show in April, and it has since recently been confirmed by Thailand’s Board of Investment for the Changan to be investing $245 million (RM 1.2 billion) in this new energy vehicle (NEV) factory project.

Changan has however yet to officially announce a concrete timeline on when exactly this new manufacturing facility will come online, though it did tout for the first phase of this multi-phase project to already be capable of producing 100,000 vehicles annually. The automaker has further stated that this already impressive manufacturing capacity might balloon up to 200,000 units annually later on too when later phases are complete, which should go someway in fulfilling its ambitious target to establish an annual production capacity of of 1.2 million vehicles outside of China by 2030.

Traditionally the stronghold of the Japanese automakers like Honda and Toyota, Thailand has however recently also seen an influx of Chinese marques setting up their regional bases over there too. Apart from Changan and the aforementioned Great Wall Motors, BYD, SAIC, GAC, and Horizon Plus — a joint venture between Thai oil giant PTT Group and Foxconn — have recently unveiled plans to invest in and build NEV factories over there too.

Speaking more on Changan’s global presence thus far meanwhile, the Chinese automaker is currently ranked among China’s top three automakers in terms of export volume for the first half of 2023. As of June 30, the Chinese automaker has sold its cars in more than 60 countries along the Belt and Road Initiative, including Saudi Arabia and Chile. Last year, 90% of its exported cars were sold in BRI countries, with sales exceeding $1.6 billion (RM 7.7 billion).

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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