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Thailand scoops massive pickup contract with China’s SAIC

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 25 July 2016

CHINESE automotive giant SAIC Motor has agreed to build up to 100,000 pick-up trucks a year in Thailand, a Thai government minister has announced.

SAIC has already announced an all-new one-tonne ute under the LDV brand on the Australian market next year, GoAuto reports.

The light truck – a rival for the likes of Great Wall’s upcoming Steed and a raft of Japanese and American one-tonners – is in the final stages of development in China where it will go on the market next year under SAIC’s alternative LCV brand, Maxus, alongside the V80 and G10 vans.

It is unclear if this is that same vehicle that is being proposed for production in Thailand which is regarded as the global hub of one-tonne pick-up manufacturing, exporting thousands of vehicles such as the Toyota HiLux and Ford Everest across the world.

Returning from a recent trade and investment expedition to China where he met SAIC Motor executives, Thai deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak reportedly told journalists that SAIC – which already builds MG cars in Thailand – would expand its operation to include pick-up manufacturing “with a target of 100,000 units a year”.

The vehicles will be built by SAIC’s Chinese-Thai joint venture, SAIC Motor-CP, at Rayong, where the organisation announced in May that it planned to build a second plant.

The new factory will more than triple the company’s Thai production capacity from 50,000 to 150,000 units a year.

Ute production in Thailand would give SAIC ready access to the Asean market while also – potentially – providing duty free access to the Australian and New Zealand markets along with relatively low-cost shipping.

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