Great Wall Motor Co., a major private Chinese light-vehicle manufacturer with global ambitions, launched production this week at a Thailand factory purchased from General Motors.
The factory, located in Rayong of eastern Thailand, was renovated after Great Wall acquired it from GM in November.
It will initially build up to 80,000 vehicles a year, with 60 percent of output to be sold in Thailand and the rest to be exported to other Southeast Asia countries, Great Wall said.
The first product assembled at the factory is the hybrid variant of the H6, a compact crossover marketed under the Haval brand. It will be followed by an Ora-badged full electric sedan.
Over the next three years, Great Wall plans to build seven other products at the plant, most of which will be all-electric vehicles.
It is the Chinese company’s second assembly plant outside China, following a factory it opened in the Tula Oblast region of central Russia in 2019.
In 2019, Great Wall also signed a tentative agreement with GM to acquire the Detroit automaker’s Talegaon plant in western India.
But negotiations over the deal have been stalled by rising coronavirus infections in India this year, according to information the company disclosed on the stock exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong, where it is listed.
Great Wall’s deliveries jumped 65 percent to 517,547 in the first five months of 2021.
In 2020, it sold 1.11 million vehicles, an increase of 4.8 percent over 2019.