Published on June 4th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
Great Wall Motor Buys Over & Upgrades Former General Motors Plant In Thailand
The Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor has its eyes set on Thai expansion.
The automotive landscape is fast changing throughout the world. The dominance of Japanese marques is being challenged by upcoming Chinese automakers. For now, the expansion of Chinese makes is targeting South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The latest name to make waves in our region is Great Wall Motor, owners of the Haval, Wey, and Ora brands.
Next week, Great Wall Motor will open a factory in Thailand that is powered by artificial intelligence. This factory is located in Rayong right next to the existing Ford Motor Company factory. It was opened by General Motors (GM) back in the year 2000. However, after 20 years of operation, GM decided to completely pull out of the Thai market, which consequently killed Holden brand altogether, which was sourcing its trucks from this Thai factory.
Upon pulling out of Thailand a year ago, it was agreed that Great Wall Motors would acquire the factory. This deal was signed in February of 2020, a few months before GM pulled out of Thailand. Great Wall Motors has since carried out extensive renovations to the facility. According to Nikkei Asia, the Chinese auto giant as poured some US$726 million into its expansion into South East Asia.
Now, the renovations are complete and Great Wall Motors is just days away from opening its doors. This will be their first South East Asian plant, but it should be noted that Haval is locally-assembled under contract in Gurun, Kedah.
Great Wall says that they’ll be producing hybrids in Thailand to start off. Later, electric vehicles will be made. That could mean the Ora R1. The initial production capacity of the plant is 80,000 units a year.
About the Rayong Plant
The plant was modelled after one of General Motors’ other plants in Eisenach, Germany. It has produced many passenger car and truck models for the Chevrolet and Holden brands, including:
By the end of the plant’s operation with GM, it had produced 934,758 Chevrolet Colorados.