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Great Wall Motor Enters Thailand, Further Increasing Presence of Chinese Automakers in Asia

On February 9, 2021, Great Wall Motor held an online presentation on its Thai business, which is currently under preparation. Great Wall, a major Chinese automaker, announced its plan to enter the Thai market last year. In November of the same year, it completed the acquisition of GM’s Thai plant. Great Wall’s first-phase investment in the plant is estimated to be about 22 billion THB, and is scheduled to start operations in mid-2021. In the online announcement, the company revealed that it will launch the Haval and Ora brands in Thailand. Under these two brands, Great Wall plans to launch four models in 2021.

Of the four models scheduled to be launched in 2021, two models will be the Haval H6 and the Ora Good Cat electric vehicle. The H6 will be manufactured in Thailand, but the Good Cat will be imported from China for the time being. The H6, Great Wall’s core model, has continued to maintain the top position in China’s SUV market since 2013. In 2020, factory shipment volume of the H6 reached 377,000 units in China, boasting an overwhelming production and sales scale. The Good Cat is a new electric vehicle launched in November 2020. Although the Good Cat is sold for 103,900–143,900 CNY in China (after applying subsidies), import tariffs on BEVs from China to Thailand are zero due to the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) which will lend some price competitiveness to the model in the Thai market. Including these models, Great Wall plans to increase its product lineup in Thailand to nine models over the next three years. Product deployment will be centered on SUVs and electric vehicles.

Great Wall is also preparing to enter India in parallel with its entry into Thailand. As for the local production base, same as in Thailand, Great Wall plans to reduce the initial investment by acquiring an existing plant. In January 2020, Great Wall concluded an agreement to acquire GM’s Talegaon plant in India. Great Wall initially planned to complete the acquisition of the plant by the end of 2020 and start production and sales in India by the end of 2021, but the schedule has been delayed since then. It is said that the delay is due to the worsening China-India relations, which deteriorated rapidly in 2020. As of February 2021, the factory has not been acquired by Great Wall. In January 2021, the state government of Maharashtra, where the Talegaon factory is located, reportedly rejected GM’s factory closure application, so the outlook for Great Wall’s expansion in India has become uncertain.

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