On January 31, GAC Aion officially announced the commencement of construction on its Thailand factory project, located in the Rayong Industrial Park in Rayong Province. This initiative marks GAC Aion’s first overseas production base, symbolizing a significant step in the company’s global expansion strategy. With a total investment of 2.3 billion Thai Baht (64.8 million USD), the factory boasts a designed annual production capacity of 50,000 units, to be established in two phases, with the first phase expected to be completed by July this year.
The construction of the Aion Thailand factory is guided by the principles of minimal initial investment, quick output, and rolling development. The first vehicle model slated for production in Thailand is the Aion Y Plus right-hand drive version, indicating the factory’s critical role in introducing more localized models in the future.
GAC Aion is accelerating its globalization strategy, with Thailand serving as the initial and core market in this endeavor. The company is committed to deepening its engagement in Thailand and extending its reach into the ASEAN market, gradually achieving localized production, sales, and services.
The Aion Thailand company is tasked with the completion of the factory construction and local operations, aiming to cultivate and solidify the overseas market production-supply-sales system, enhance the brand’s overseas influence, and contribute new energy towards achieving GAC Aion’s goal of one million units of production and sales by 2025.
In November 2023, GAC Aion debuted at the 40th Thailand International Motor Expo, showcasing five vehicle models and EV technologies. The Aion Thailand factory, situated in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) of Rayong Province, is undergoing rapid construction with the same investment and production capacity targets as previously mentioned, aiming for the first phase to be operational this year.
Many Chinese companies have already set up EV factories in Thailand
This move is part of a broader trend of Chinese automotive companies making inroads into the Thai market. Companies like Great Wall Motors, BYD, and Neta Automobile have entered or are planning to establish production facilities in Thailand. This includes Great Wall Motors’ acquisition of General Motors’ Rayong plant in 2020 and BYD’s foundation laying for a production plant in Rayong Province in March 2023, with production expected to start in 2024.
The increased focus on the Thai market by Chinese automotive firms is driven by competitive market conditions and policy directions. The Chinese EV market’s price reduction trend and the search for new growth avenues have led companies to explore opportunities in Thailand.
As a result, over ten Chinese vehicle and parts manufacturers have announced or are in the process of establishing factories in Thailand, with total investment estimated to be in the billions of USD. This strategic move not only aligns with Thailand’s policy incentives but also represents a critical pivot towards tapping into new growth markets by Chinese automotive companies, including GAC Aion, as they navigate the competitive landscape of the global automotive industry.