BYD announced that its first electric car manufacturing plant outside of China will be located in Thailand.
The company has formally signed a contract with WHA Corporation Public Company Limited on land purchase (96 hectares or 237 acres) and factory construction at WHA Rayong 36 Industrial Estate.
Thailand is described as the largest auto market in ASEAN and the auto manufacturing center in Southeast Asia, with strong EV ambitions.
The factory is expected to start operation in 2024 with an annual production capacity of about 150,000 vehicles. EVs (BEVs and maybe PHEVs) made in Thailand will be sold locally as well as exported to neighboring ASEAN countries and other areas (potentially including Europe, according to WHA's press release).
That's a pretty interesting move, especially since so far BYD's EV sales were highly focused on China.
Liu Xueliang, General Manager of BYD Asia-Pacific Auto Sales Division, said:
“ Opening a new overseas passenger vehicle factory in the WHA Industrial Park marks a major step towards BYD’s global expansion. Thailand has a solid base in the automotive industry with first-class manufacturing capabilities so we chose to build a factory here after careful deliberation. We expect that Thai people can gain more access to enjoy green travels and eco-friendly life.”
Let's note also that earlier this year, BYD established a partnership with RÊVER, which will operate as the local distributor of BYD's plug-in cars in Thailand (currently imported from China). The target sales for the first year of operation is set at over 10,000 units.
According to CnEVPost, the Thai government plans to increase the EV share in total vehicle production to 30% by 2030, making the country a New Energy Vehicle hub.
Before even the new plant in Thailand is ready, BYD might increase its plug-in electric car sales to 4 million units in 2023 (globally). The company is ramping-up exports and hopes to successfully launch a few new models in Europe (besides Norway). The launch in North America is not certain, especially after the changes applied to the federal tax credit incentive.