Detroit of Asia targets battery makers to stay ahead in EV race – by Danny Lee and Patpicha Tanakasempipat (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2023)

Thailand has long been an auto hub, attracting global giants like Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. and earning the moniker of the Detroit of Asia. Now, as the pivot to electric vehicles gathers pace, the country is determined to keep its grip on the economically crucial industry.

The nation has already attracted 75 billion baht ($2.2 billion) from the EV industry, led by a slew of Chinese investments from BYD Co., Great Wall Motor Co. and SAIC Motor Corp. Changan Auto Co. and GAC Aion New Energy Automobile Co. are set to soon finalize their investment plans, and Chery Automobile Co. is also in talks.

Companies investing at least 5 billion baht in EV manufacturing can be exempt from the 20% corporate tax rate for three to eight years. Additional incentives for key EV parts production can get a 50% discount on taxes for a further five years.

And while exports have accounted for the lion’s share of Thailand’s auto output (WTO data values vehicle exports at $22 billion a year), the government is also keen to encourage a domestic EV market, offering subsidies of up to 150,000 baht to help drivers make the switch from gasoline-powered cars.

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