Chinese auto brand Great Wall Motor (GWM) is shaking up the Thai automotive industry by launching its new models under the brand's popular Tank 300 and 500 series officially in Bangkok on Thursday.
The All New Tank 500 HEV, a premium off-road sports utility vehicle (SUV), comes in a pro model at a price of 2,049,000 baht ($55,880) and an Ultra model at a price of 2,269,000 baht, while The All New Tank 300 HEV designed for adventurous lifestyles is priced between 1, 649,000 baht and 1,799,000 baht.
Reservation for those new models started from 6 pm local time on Thursday. GWM will begin delivering these two models from October onwards.
"We have adopted the most advanced off-road technology based on the TANK and Hi4-T platforms in these new energy vehicles. Our goal is to create an off-road driving lifestyle characterized by capability, power and convenience," said Vice President of GWM's Marketing for the ASEAN region Vudhigorn Suriyachantananont.
Tank has achieved tremendous success in China and worldwide, with cumulative sales of Tank category products exceeding 300,000 units worldwide and more than 60 percent share of the Chinese off-road market, he said.
"The launching of those two new models in the Thai market will generate excitement and make a significant impact in the new energy off-road SUV segment by catering to the needs of customers who seek a balance between off-road adventures and urban driving," he told audiences.
Tank series are popular for their toughness, boldness, elegance and versatility. The category gained public attention since the 2021 Guangzhou Auto Show in China, where the GWM TANK 500 received 26,000 reservations in just two hours after its launch.
Tank 500 HEV was launched in Thailand at the Bangkok International Motor Show 2023 early this year. The model was granted with the Most Exciting SUV Award at the show.
"GWM is proud to play a key role in fueling the continued growth of electric vehicles in Thailand," said Narong Sritalayon, Managing Director of Great Wall Motor Thailand. "We expected that these two new energy off-road vehicles with cutting-edge technology will offer a unique driving experience."
Southeast Asia electric vehicle sales have seen a year-on-year growth in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest research from an international research firm Counterpoint.
It reveals that Chinese automakers has dominated the market, with three out of every four EVs sold in the region between January and March being Chinese brands.
As Southeast Asia's second-largest economy with a population of more than 71 million and also the main regional hub for EVs production, Thailand boasted the highest proportion (75 percent) of battery-electric vehicles in total passenger vehicle sales, followed by Indonesia and Vietnam.
In a bid to turn Thailand into a regional EV focal point, the Thai government has released a series of incentive packages, including tax breaks and subsidies to boost both EV production and consumption. The Thailand Automotive Institute (TAI) anticipates a surge in EV sales to 50,000 units this year.
Counterpoint's Research Analyst Abhilash Gupta said Thai government-led efforts to promote EV sales have yielded positive outcomes and the country's EV sector has witnessed a significant rise in foreign direct investment in the past year.
"Chinese auto groups are experiencing rapid growth and outpacing their competitors in Southeast Asia with their market share increasing from 38 percent a year ago to nearly 75 percent now," he said.
"Notably, several Chinese automakers, including Great Wall Motors, BYD and Changan Automobile, have shown interest in establishing or have already commenced the construction of production facilities in Thailand. This move is expected to further accelerate the production and sales of EVs in the region," Gupta said.