Great Wall acquires GM’s Thailand plant

Great Wall Motor Co., in an effort to expand its global manufacturing footprint, completed an acquisition of General Motors’ assembly plant in Rayong of eastern Thailand, after agreeing to the deal early this year.

After a renovation, the factory will reopen sometime in the first quarter of 2021 to build right-hand-drive pickups, SUVs and sedans, the leading Chinese light-truck maker said this week.

Initially, the retooled plant will produce up to 80,000 vehicles a year. Some vehicles will be sold in Thailand and the rest will be exported to Southeast Asian countries, Australia and South Africa, Great Wall said.

Great Wall signed an agreement with GM in February to purchase the factory. 

The Rayong factory is the Chinese company’s second assembly plant outside China. In 2019, it opened a plant in the Tula Oblast region of central Russia.

Great Wall, based in the north China city of Baoding, is listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai. 

It delivered 680,690 vehicles worldwide in the first three quarters, a drop of 6 percent from a year earlier. Of that sales tally, roughly 41,457 were exported. 

It is the largest pickup maker among Chinese automakers, with pickup sales surging 63 percent to 160,351 in the first nine months on robust domestic demand. 

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