BMW To Build the First SE Asia EV Battery Factory in Thailand

BMW Group Thailand has announced plans to build an electric vehicle battery factory in Thailand this year, aiming to bolster sales of its battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and to compete with Chinese EV manufacturers.

The company will soon finalize the investment budget and production capabilities for the new plant, which is to be located in Rayong.

Alexander Baraka, the president and CEO of BMW Group Thailand, said, “We decided to invest in battery manufacturing because China is expanding its EV investment and supply chains in Thailand.”

Mr. Baraka highlighted that Thailand will be the first country in Southeast Asia to host a BMW EV battery manufacturing site, adding to the company’s existing operations in China and Hungary.

BMW Group Thailand is strategizing to use Thailand as a pivotal center for its battery export activities.

“BMW also plans to invest in EV production in Rayong, but a final decision will be determined by many factors, including market demand and the global supply of semiconductors,” said Mr. Baraka.

The Thai EV market is experiencing rapid growth, spurred by governmental initiatives aimed at promoting the sector and positioning Thailand as a key EV production hub in the region.

Last week, the National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee approved financial incentives for local EV battery cell producers and supported energy storage systems through the Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

The Thai government’s EV policies have attracted significant investment from automotive firms, particularly those based in China.

The influx of Chinese EV ventures is prompting global car manufacturers from Europe, the US, and Japan to adapt by lowering prices and enhancing their after-sales services.

In the previous year, BMW Group Thailand reported a total sale of 15,477 vehicles, including cars under the BMW and Mini brands, marking a 4% increase from the previous year. Additionally, the sale of BMW Motorrad motorcycles reached a total of 1,079 units.

“Our battery EVs gained a market share of 15.5% in Thailand,” said Mr. Baraka.

The company is also keeping a close watch on the effects of geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea on maritime logistics and the worldwide supply chain.

Mr. Baraka noted that these tensions have led to minor delays in shipping automotive parts to Asia, affecting BMW Group Thailand, but assured that the parent company is well-equipped to manage these challenges.

“This conflict is causing some short-term impact on BMW Group Thailand as the shipping of some auto components to Asia is delayed. Our parent company can cope with this situation,” said Mr. Baraka.