Chinese EV maker Hozon kicks off operations at its first overseas factory, in Thailand, as it steps up push for Southeast Asian market share

“Neta is dedicated to building a complete industry chain that encompasses research and development, manufacturing, sales, and after-sales service.”

Hozon, which was founded in 2014, began building its Bangkok assembly facility in March, to focus on right-hand drive vehicles targeting the Asean markets.


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The factory, which it built along with its Thai partner, Bangchan General Assembly, has an annual capacity of 20,000 units. The Neta V-II is the company’s first right-hand drive model developed for some markets outside mainland China, including Southeast Asia.

The entry-level Neta V, a left-hand drive car aimed at mainland Chinese customers, starts at 73,900 yuan (US$10,392) in China. It has a driving range of 301 kilometres on a single charge.

Neta is a variation of the name Nezha, a protection deity in Chinese mythology. The brand falls into the category of budget EVs in China, aimed at middle- and low-income drivers who prefer battery-powered vehicles to cars powered by petrol-guzzling internal combustion engines.

Hozon said it had delivered more than 12,000 units in Thailand since it started exporting Chinese-made vehicles to the Southeast Asian nation in August, 2022.

In the first 10 months of this year, Neta vehicles held a 20 per cent share of the country’s pure-electric car segment.

The company said it aimed to expand its global sales network to 50 countries with 500 overseas sales and service outlets.

In July, Hozon signed a preliminary pact with PT Handal Indonesia Motor to build an assembly plant in Indonesia which is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2024.

“Chinese-branded EVs now have the pricing advantage in Southeast Asia and some of them are accelerating the pace of selling cars and building plants there,” said Chen Jinzhu, CEO of consultancy Shanghai Mingliang Auto Service. “They also want to avoid heated competition in the home market while chasing new growth abroad.”

State-owned Changan Automobile, the Chinese partner of Ford Motor and Mazda Motor, said in August that it would build an electric-car plant in Thailand with an annual capacity of 100,000 units.
In May, BYD, the world’s largest EV builder, said it had agreed with the Indonesian government to localise the production of its vehicles there. Its factory is expected to commence production next year and will have an annual capacity of 150,000 units.

Major EV makers are under pressure to stem losses amid escalating competition in mainland China, the world’s largest electric-car market. Crowded with 200 players, concerns are mounting about severe overcapacity.


Business Asia
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