BYD opens $490 mn EV manufacturing plant in Thailand

By Editor


BYD, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer based in China, has inaugurated a new EV production facility in Thailand.

At the opening ceremony, BYD CEO and President Wang Chuanfu praised Thailand’s forward-looking approach to EVs, stating, “Thailand has a clear EV vision and is entering a new era of auto manufacturing. We will bring technology from China to Thailand.”

This development is part of a significant investment wave exceeding $1.44 billion by Chinese EV manufacturers, spurred by Thai government subsidies and tax incentives.

The BEV 3.5 policy of Thailand, released in December 2023, enables battery electric vehicle (BEV) makers — BEV passenger vehicles, pick-up trucks and motorcycles whether imported and locally assembled — to benefit from a set of subsidies and excise-tax reduction incentives, according to a note from EY.

Historically, the Thai auto industry has been dominated by Japanese car makers like Toyota Motor, Honda Motor, and Isuzu Motors, which have established assembly units in the country.

The Thai government aims to convert 30 percent of its annual vehicle production of 2.5 million units into EVs by 2030. According to Narit Therdsteerasukdi, Secretary-General of Thailand’s Board of Investment, “BYD is using Thailand as a production hub for export to ASEAN and many other countries,” referring to the 10-nation Southeast Asian bloc.

BYD is also expanding its footprint outside China with the construction of its first European production base in Hungary. The new facility in Thailand represents a $490 million investment and will have an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles, including plug-in hybrids. This strategic move will enable BYD to produce right-hand-drive EVs, potentially circumventing EU tariffs on China-made vehicles.

Liu Xueliang, BYD’s Asia Pacific General Manager, highlighted the comprehensive nature of the facility: “We will also assemble batteries and other important parts here.”

Thailand has emerged as BYD’s largest overseas market, capturing a 46 percent share of the country’s EV segment in the first quarter, and becoming the third-largest player in passenger cars, according to research firm Counterpoint. Other competitors in the Thai EV market include Great Wall Motor, which also operates a production facility in Thailand, and U.S. automaker Tesla.

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