China’s Great Wall Motors has agreed to buy the General Motors’ Thailand manufacturing plant in Rayong. It’s expected than the transaction will be completed by the end of this year. GM announced this week that it is accelerating a retreat from “unprofitable markets”, becoming more dependent on the US, China, Latin America and South Korea for its manufacturing. Read more about the pull-out HERE.
“GM is focusing on markets where we have the right strategies to drive robust returns, and prioritising global investments that will drive growth in the future of mobility, especially in electric and autonomous vehicles.”
GM said it will also pull the Chevrolet brand from Thailand, a major pickup and SUV market. With the proposed sale of the Thailand plant to Great Wall, GM passes up opportunities to expand operations in Southeast Asia.
Great Wall, one of China’s biggest SUV makers, says it will sell vehicles from the Thai manufacturing plant in Thailand, other ASEAN countries and Australia as the automaker seeks to expand globally amid a slowing domestic market. Earlier this year, it signed an agreement to buy a GM plant in India. The companies said they expected the transaction would be completed by the second half of this year.
Shi Ji, analyst at Haitong Internation, told Reuters that these two plant acquisitions will certainly accelerate the opening up of the auto market into parts of SE Asia.
“Such an acquisition could give Great Wall quick access to the ASEAN market, and Thailand is a good choice for its production base amid the country’s established supply chain in the automotive industry.”
Thailand produces around 2 million light vehicles each year, with just over half exported, most of them Japanese-based brands like Toyota, Honda and Suzuki. Great Wall may consider also building pickup trucks and SUVs in Thailand.
The automaker, which is building a car plant in China with BMW Group, sold 1.06 million light vehicles last year, including 65,175 units for export.
“There is no choice, if we don’t go global, we will not survive,” Wei Jianjun, chairman of Great Wall Motors said last year when they opened their first full assembly plant in Russia. Great Wall rival Geely is also looking to expand light-vehicle sales across the ASEAN region with Malaysia-based brand Proton.
SOURCE: Auto News
A few of the Great Wall SUVs and pickups currently made in China – Great Wall website
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