Thanakorn Seriburi, the vice-chairman of Thai-based Charoen Pokphand Group, is saying his company and SAIC are working on a feasibility study for a joint-venture factory to make at least 50,000 cars a year in Thailand. These would be right hand drive vehicles for Asian countries including Australia. The right hand drive MG6 is already on sale in Britain, where it is assembled in Birmingham from CKD kits made in China.
SAIC bought the bankrupt MG-Rover group in 2006, initially building re-badged cars on the outdated platforms, including the cheekily named Roewe brand (which the Chinese pronounced as “Rovah”).
A Thai factory would relieve pressure on SAIC’s plants in China, where SAIC - China’s biggest motor manufacturer in partnership with General Motors and Volkswagen - is under pressure to meet local demand.
Toyota, Honda, Holden, Ford, Mazda, Nissan, Isuzu and Mitsubishi already import vehicles from Thailand to Australia, helped by the FTA signed between both countries, with Thailand now rivaling South Korea as the second-biggest source of vehicles for Australia behind Japan.