General Motors retreats from Thailand, sells production plant

US auto maker General Motors (GM) said it will wind down its car manufacturing and sales operations in Thailand after a presence of 20 years as part of its ongoing global restructuring which includes the retreat from unprofitable markets.

GM will cease selling Chevrolet vehicles in Thailand and sell its plant in Rayong province to Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motors by the end of this year.

“Low plant utilisation and low forecast for domestic and export volumes impacted the business case significantly,” Andy Dunstan, GM president for strategic markets, alliances and distributors, said on February 17, adding that the company will continue to support existing Chevrolet customers with ongoing aftersales services, as well as warranty and repair work through its authorised service outlets.

GM will also completely withdraw from Australia and New Zealand where it will retire its Holden brand by 2021. In the recent past, it already pulled out of Indonesia, Vietnam and India, as well as South Africa and other African markets to focus on the US, China, South Korea and Latin America.

GM produced 1.4 million cars in 20 years, far beyond capacity

GM entered Thailand in January 2000, establishing two combined facilities at an industrial estate in Rayong, a vehicle assembly plant with annual production capacity for 180,000 units and a powertrain plant with annual capacity for 120,000 units at a total investment of $1.4 billion.

Overall, the Rayong plant has produced around 1.4 million cars – far beyond capacity – since 2000 which were sold domestically and across ASEAN. Most recently, GM employed 1,900 employees in Thailand, with 1,200 at the manufacturing sites.

It was not immediately clear how many staff Great Wall Motors will take over. Chinese companies usually bring a sizeable share of labourers from China to work at their overseas facilities. The Hebei-based company, which produces sport utility vehicles, pick-ups and passenger cars under the brands Haval, WEY, ORA and GWM Pickup, said it will utilise the plant as a regional manufacturing hub to expand across the entire ASEAN region and export its products to other ASEAN countries, as well as to Australia.

It is not the first time that Great Wall Motors is looking to set up a base in Thailand, though. In 2013, the company had plans to invest $340 million for a new greenfield manufacturing site in Thailand, but this expansion effort was shelved in early 2014.

US auto maker General Motors (GM) said it will wind down its car manufacturing and sales operations in Thailand after a presence of 20 years as part of its ongoing global restructuring which includes the retreat from unprofitable markets. GM will cease selling Chevrolet vehicles in Thailand and sell its plant in Rayong province to Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motors by the end of this year. “Low plant utilisation and low forecast for domestic and export volumes impacted the business case significantly,” Andy Dunstan, GM president for strategic markets, alliances and distributors, said on February 17, adding that the...

US auto maker General Motors (GM) said it will wind down its car manufacturing and sales operations in Thailand after a presence of 20 years as part of its ongoing global restructuring which includes the retreat from unprofitable markets.

GM will cease selling Chevrolet vehicles in Thailand and sell its plant in Rayong province to Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motors by the end of this year.

“Low plant utilisation and low forecast for domestic and export volumes impacted the business case significantly,” Andy Dunstan, GM president for strategic markets, alliances and distributors, said on February 17, adding that the company will continue to support existing Chevrolet customers with ongoing aftersales services, as well as warranty and repair work through its authorised service outlets.

GM will also completely withdraw from Australia and New Zealand where it will retire its Holden brand by 2021. In the recent past, it already pulled out of Indonesia, Vietnam and India, as well as South Africa and other African markets to focus on the US, China, South Korea and Latin America.

GM produced 1.4 million cars in 20 years, far beyond capacity

GM entered Thailand in January 2000, establishing two combined facilities at an industrial estate in Rayong, a vehicle assembly plant with annual production capacity for 180,000 units and a powertrain plant with annual capacity for 120,000 units at a total investment of $1.4 billion.

Overall, the Rayong plant has produced around 1.4 million cars – far beyond capacity – since 2000 which were sold domestically and across ASEAN. Most recently, GM employed 1,900 employees in Thailand, with 1,200 at the manufacturing sites.

It was not immediately clear how many staff Great Wall Motors will take over. Chinese companies usually bring a sizeable share of labourers from China to work at their overseas facilities. The Hebei-based company, which produces sport utility vehicles, pick-ups and passenger cars under the brands Haval, WEY, ORA and GWM Pickup, said it will utilise the plant as a regional manufacturing hub to expand across the entire ASEAN region and export its products to other ASEAN countries, as well as to Australia.

It is not the first time that Great Wall Motors is looking to set up a base in Thailand, though. In 2013, the company had plans to invest $340 million for a new greenfield manufacturing site in Thailand, but this expansion effort was shelved in early 2014.

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