CP Foton Sales to spend B1bn on factory

CP Foton Sales to spend B1bn on factory

Mr Kritsana sees bright business prospects for the sale of both ICE-powered vehicles and EVs in the domestic commercial vehicle market this year.

CP Foton Sales Co, a Thai-Chinese automaker in the commercial vehicle segment, plans to spend 1 billion baht building a factory to assemble electric vehicles (EVs) and oil-powered vehicles in Thailand by 2026.

“The plant would be the company’s second car assembly facility in Asean after Malaysia,” said Kritsana Settharangkul, managing director of CP Foton Sales.

The company wants to team up with a business partner to push ahead with this project, he said.

CP Foton Sales, a joint venture between China’s Foton Motor Group and CP Group, was established in 2019.

“We want to sell cars in the domestic market and export them abroad,” said Mr Kritsana.

The company’s board of directors is considering potential locations for the factory from a list of industrial estates. The location may be in Chon Buri or a neighbouring province of Bangkok, he said.

The production capacity is set at 3,000 vehicles a year.

Though the trend in EVs is growing, CP Foton still sees demand for large commercial vehicles, based on internal combustion engine (ICE) technology.

Mr Kritsana said the company plans to assemble buses, trucks and mini-vans, all of which will be right-hand drive vehicles.

The vehicles it produces in Malaysia are left-hand drive.

“We expect the new assembly plant to sell 70% of cars domestically and export the other 30% overseas,” said Mr Kritsana.

CP Foton set a sales target for this year of 1,000 cars — 700 ICE-powered vehicles and 300 EVs — all of which would be imported from China.

This year is the first time the company would deliver EVs to customers, following a delay caused by the semiconductor shortage.

CP Foton focuses on selling commercial vehicles to companies and state agencies, which need them for transportation and logistics purposes.

“Around 100 of 300 EVs will be delivered to CP Group which is implementing a carbon neutrality policy,” said Mr Kritsana.

Last year, the market for commercial vehicles in Thailand expanded 8% year-on-year, with total sales tallying 30,064 units, thanks to more business activities following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

CP Foton expects the domestic commercial car market to grow by 10% this year due to the recovery of the tourism industry and China’s decision to reopen the country.

Mr Kritsana said the company also plans to jointly invest with local car dealers in developing EV charging facilities and battery swapping services.

The firm currently has 28 dealers and plans to increase the number to 35 within 2-3 years.