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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Chinese EVs Uber Alles?

    China’s EV Makers Bet They Can Dethrone Japan Brands in Thailand


    • Government subsidies are helping BYD and Neta boost sales
    • Toyota, Isuzu losing share in key Southeast Asian market




    Chinese brands now make up 10% of the entire market.
    Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

    By Tsuyoshi Inajima (Bloomberg)
    April 9, 2024 at 8:09 AM GMT+7

    Standing in front of a large crowd at last month’s Bangkok International Motor Show, an executive from Hozon New Energy Automobile Co. promised to double sales in Thailand to 30,000 electric vehicles this year.

    The Chinese manufacturer, which operates as Neta Auto, was hardly known in Thailand until last year. With sleek, stylish models that appeal to young people, Hozon sold 105,563 units globally, according to Bloomberg NEF. That compares with more than 3 million units sold by BYD Co., the market leader.


    A Neta GT displayed at the Bangkok International Motor Show on March 27.Photographer: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

    China’s carmakers aren’t just offering affordable options in emerging markets — in most cases, they’re the only option. Legacy automakers from Toyota Motor Corp. to Nissan Motor Co. don’t have the line up of electric cars that China’s automakers do and certainly not at the wide range of price points like BYD, whose cheapest EV hatchback starts from around $10,000.

    In Thailand that means Toyota, Isuzu Motors Ltd. and other Japanese carmakers are under threat in a market they have long dominated. Last year, Japanese automakers’ share of the Thai market has slipped below 80% after holding above that level for years. With demand for EVs from the likes of Hozon, the time to go big is now, according to Vice President Wang Chengjie.

    “I feel no need to wait for five years,” Wang said of plans to double the output of Hozon’s new Thai factory, which is capable of making 20,000 Netas a year. “It will come true very soon.”

    In a market with about 800,000 vehicle sales each year, that’s not a small number. EV sales in Thailand grew last year to about 76,000 from less than 10,000, according to Bloomberg Intelligence senior auto analyst Tatsuo Yoshida. Chinese brands now make up 10% of the entire market, while Japanese legacy carmakers lost 8.2 percentage points last year after taking a 80%-plus share for years.

    What’s playing out in Thailand could be a harbinger of what could happen in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries, where Japanese brands have long dominated. New vehicle sales and registrations across Asean nations rose 18% to 3.27 million units 2022, according to the Japan External Trade Organization. That makes the region one of the world’s biggest automobile markets, just between No. 4 Japan and No. 5 Germany.

    Thailand is the largest auto manufacturing hub in Southeast Asia, winning it the moniker of the Detroit of Asia, thanks to a network of suppliers built by Japanese companies for fuel-burning cars. That’s attracted BYD, Great Wall Motor Co. and other EV makers seeking to tap into local labor and know-how. Chinese automakers aren’t just setting up factories in Thailand, they’re also exporting record numbers of new-energy vehicles to Thailand and other countries, with China surpassing Japan as the world’s top car exporter.

    “Japan’s carmakers must not remain complacent” when looking at what’s happening in Thailand and the rest of the region, said Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at automotive consultancy Carnorama.

    Other countries are embracing incentives to foster EV growth. Chinese and South Korean firms are waging a battle to carve out market share in Indonesia, the biggest market in Southeast Asia; Isuzu and Suzuki Motor Corp. have recently lost market share in the country. Although EVs accounted for just 1% of Southeast Asia’s passenger vehicle sales in 2020, according to Bloomberg NEF, that number will reach 14% in 2030 and 64% in 2040.


    An XPeng P7i at the Bangkok International Motor Show.Photographer: Andre Malerba/Bloomberg

    Xpeng Inc., which counts Alibaba Group Holding as one of its shareholders, announced plans at this year’s Bangkok International Motor Show to break into the Southeast Asian market. It will begin deliveries from the third quarter in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

    The growth of Chinese EVs in Thailand can be traced back to a public initiative
    that was announced in February 2022, including subsidies of as much as 150,000 baht ($4085) per EV, as well as related tax breaks. That compares with the average monthly Thai household income of 27,352 baht in 2021.Southeast Asia “is one of our strategic focus as we broadly expand our footprint outside of China,” Xpeng Vice

    President Jiaming “James” Wu said in an interview. “This is the right time for us to come because most of the Southeast Asia countries are now gradually opening up and creating favorable policies for EVs to come into these markets.”

    Given the size of Thailand’s agricultural sector, pickup trucks account for about 40% of new car sales, making it a critical segment. Toyota and Isuzu have long enjoyed a strong grip in that market, with four out of every five pickups from those manufacturers, but they’re beginning to clash with Chinese brands expanding their lineups to include pickups.

    The goal is is attract customers like Kamphon Thamwapee, a sugar cane farmer in Northeast Thailand who recently ordered his sixth Toyota, a pickup. At the motor show in Bangkok, Great Wall unveiled a new product squarely targeting customers like Thamwapee: a hybrid pickup.


    A D-Max pick-up truck leaves the assembly line at the Isuzu Motors Samrong plant in Thailand.Photographer: Andre Malerba/Bloomberg

    The thinking behind the hybrid pickup is that it could offer better value for customers seeking to reduce fuel usage. The truck, which doesn’t yet have a sticker price, will be “premium and luxury,” according to Michael Chong, general manager of Great Wall Motor Thailand. He also said he doesn’t “any difficulty” in developing an electric pickup, hinting at the possibility of a commercial product in the future.

    In order to defend its flank, Toyota announced plans to roll out an EV Hilux pickup truck in Thailand by the end of 2025. Isuzu also unveiled the D-Max, its first EV pickup, at the show. Isuzu’s Managing Executive Officer Satoshi Yamaguchi said its rollout has only been confirmed for Norway, while for other markets the company has to first examine what kind of added value can be provided to customers who are interested in purchasing EVs.
    Last edited by tomcat; 10-04-2024 at 08:10 AM.
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  2. #2
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    There are heaps of Netas out there on the road. MG’s too, but I don’t reckon many of them are totally electric now.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    There are heaps of Netas out there on the road. MG’s too, but I don’t reckon many of them are totally electric now.
    Neta and BYD are fully electric.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Yes, Neta is fully electric. I’ve seen a lot of ads for BYD but not a lot of the actual autos.

    I meant to say there are a lot of MGs (now Chinese owned) on the road now but they are a mixture of gas, electric, and hybrid.

  5. #5
    Excommunicated baldrick's Avatar
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    Lots of BYD on the road in Australia

  6. #6
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    Edmond's Avatar
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    Those Netas are multiplying like muzzies.

    They appear to only have one model, or different versions of the same car, at least. Did some plant in Chinkoland bang out 10 billion of them for $5 a pop or wot.

    I shudder to think what the resale value of them will be in 3 or 4 years. 500k to 40k in 48 months??


    Do some of them come with a flashlight installed in the dash for the likes of OhOh?

  7. #7
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    In the uk the insurance costs for these cheap chinky cars has rocketed due to huge repair costs if they go wrong/are involved in crashes, i.e you can't economically repair them

  8. #8
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    Edmond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malmomike77 View Post
    In the uk the insurance costs for these cheap chinky cars has rocketed due to huge repair costs if they go wrong/are involved in crashes
    Don't know about the UK, but there are some tiny little smart cars going round here with saucers for wheels and the driver's spine and skull as the crumble zone. They're pretty much the size of one person, probably top out at 30kph, so fok only knows how they're allowed on the road with Somchai in his raised, bull-barred orange Ranger.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    ^ Those are useful to keep the rain off when you run out to the market in your village. On the highways will be smashed like a bugs.

    Worse are those little mobility scooters that you can see grandpa out on the highway occasionally…with grandma squeezed in on the back.

  10. #10
    Making people dance. :-)
    Edmond's Avatar
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    Yeah, one of them has love hearts as the brake lights, which the kid likes seeing.

    They're either cute or connected to the driver as life indication when driven over.


    2021 Smart EQ 0.0 (ปี 15-20) fortwo Hatchback for sale on One2car

    This one's 1.5 mill baht if anyone fancies exiting this world all cutely.


    0-100 km/hr 11.6sec

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    ...took a Grab BYD to the airport: very smooth ride, roomy interior, uncomplicated dash board...

  12. #12
    Excommunicated baldrick's Avatar
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    Some new BYDs coming this year

    There might be some BYD motor show vids on YouTube
    I think the announced a new one there and it looks a good compromise wagon

  13. #13
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    The Chinese are doing something similar to what Japanese brands did in Europe during the 60s and 70s.

    Back then, the Japs loaded base models with radios, tape players and interiors that were all extras in Europe. The cars were also cheap because the Japanese were better at mass production than European makers.

    Fast forward and the Chinese are doing similar with EVs. Because they have no manufacturing history, these EVs are subsidized by government copying or buying western vehicles, underwritten by cheap labour costs.

    Get used to it. Lazy British workers, pushed by unions, lost marques like Rover, Austin, Triumph and drove Ford and GM models to mainland Europe.
    Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

  14. #14
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    I may be wrong usually am but not sue ev is the future rather than hydrogen and other gases, not gasolene in American way

    Sometimes the early version BSB squarial ,Sinclair C5 nor betamax don't become leader.

    While all for small footprint and less fossil fuel polltion we need unbiased thorough data through the life of different modes.

    Battery production, safety and disposal, replacement need to be factored in

    Everyone who can afford loves the freddom of own transport whatever the power train

    Very hard other than inner city hops and airport express links to compete

    In our aircon saloon

    Can drive to CMai me 3.5hrs her 5
    we leave anytime in privare secure space
    Own choice of temp music etc
    Stop anywhere for food drnk shopping
    Can bring back gran kids dogs etc

    In a generation when Greta types rule maybe middle class white Americans will mingle on the bus as happily as they do on a plane.

    We boomers, evenn with modest income were blessed with fewer cars free parking, fuel so cheap hardly looked our grandkids won' have that freedom unless v rich.

    Driving whole east of Oz,
    200km to mardi gras in the big easy ,
    and Californias old coast rds wonderful memories.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by david44 View Post
    not sue ev is the future rather than hydrogen
    Hydrogen was the future 50 years ago. It is the future now, it may be the future 50 years from now. It will never be the present. I have followed the "development" of hydrogen cars for that long.

    Governments pour billions of $ into hydrogen. It gets nowhere.

  16. #16
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    Despite governments insisting on the death of ICE in certain time frames, the current EV and the infrastructure required to support it, is not yet ready.

    I realise that manufacturers are improving the resources necessary to make electric cars, but the question is, is it enough, and will they make it in time?

    Someting big needs to happen with the rare earth material development or replacement. Taking all types of mining into account, 90% of mining still produces far too much waste material.

    Used EVs are quickly becoming a liability for customers and dealers alike.

    Too many unanswered questions remain for governments to dictate time scales for implementation.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Switch View Post
    Despite governments insisting on the death of ICE in certain time frames, the current EV and the infrastructure required to support it, is not yet ready.
    True. Electric cars are the future. They will take over without regulations. The infrastructure needs to be built. Governments instead waste multi billions for hydrogen infrastructure, for political reasons. It's a shame.

    Hydrogen may be useful for airplanes, but I don't know. Also for some chemical processes.

  18. #18
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    EV is a dreadful global cul de sac for the motor industry. There is no functioning charging network, the vehicles are too expensive and cannot be repaired, and the reduction in global CO2 is piffling.
    ICE is still the only viable transport.

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