BMW HOPES to increase sales in Thailand of its plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) from 5 per cent in 2016 to 15 per cent this year.
The German luxury-car maker has already begun expanding the range of locally produced PHEV models at its Rayong plant.
BMW sold more than 7,900 vehicles in Thailand last year and is the second-largest premium brand after compatriot Mercedes-Benz, which sold almost 12,000 units in 2016.
BMW produces nine models at the BMW Group Manufacturing Thailand assembly plant in Rayong, in addition to one Mini model (Countryman) and nine BMW motorcycle models.
Founded in 2000, the BMW Group manufacturing plant is in the Amata City Industrial Park in Rayong province, about 115 kilometres from Bangkok. The assembly plant spread over 75,000 square metres is the only BMW Group production site internationally to assemble vehicles for all three brands: BMW, Mini, and BMW Motorrad.
The plant has been built with an investment of more than Bt2.6 billion. In 2015, an additional Bt1.1 billion went towards the expansion of the plant.
Among the nine car models produced, there are two PHEVs – the X3 hybrid and X5 hybrid – which are also exported. While combined production for BMW and Mini in Thailand reached 6,087 units last year, another 9,600 units of the X3 hybrid and X5 hybrid were also produced for export to China.
“The operation of a BMW PHEV assembly line in Thailand marks yet another major step forward for BMW Group Thailand as we work towards the vision of a truly sustainable future. Furthermore, it reaffirms the important role that this plant plays in BMW Group’s operations, especially in the Asean region,” said Stefan Teuchert, president of BMW Group Thailand.
“We strongly believe that our plant in Rayong will continue to introduce new innovations and provide quality services for our customers and dealers while also building upon this success to achieve a sustainable future.”
Jeffrey Gaudiano, managing director and chief executive of BMW Group Manufacturing Thailand, added: “In addition to being the only BMW plant to bring together all three brands under one roof, we have won the trust and confidence of our headquarters to expand our capability to cover the assembly of PHEVs such as the BMW 330e Luxury and BMW X5 xDrive40e M Sport.
“This expansion will bolster the foundations of Thailand’s automotive-industry leadership in the region and drive the country towards greater sustainability.”