EV maker VinFast signs partnership agreements with 15 dealers in Thailand

By Thomson Reuters Mar 26, 2024 | 11:04 PM

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast said on Wednesday that it had signed partnership agreements with 15 dealers in Thailand, its latest effort to expand in Southeast Asia and tap growing demand in the region.

It said the deals were made at this week’s Bangkok International Motor Show.

Thailand is looking convert about 30% of its annual vehicle production into EVs by 2030, fueling the competition among EV makers, some of which are seeking to use the regional automaking hub as a manufacturing base.

VinFast enters the market at a time when Chinese EV brands such as BYD and Great Wall Motor are selling strongly in Thailand and market leader Tesla is in talks with Thai authorities for a production facility.

BYD has the biggest share of Thailand’s EV market. Guangzhou-based Xpeng plans to open five showrooms in Thailand this year to offer higher-end EVs.

“VinFast and the dealers will actively work towards opening 22 showrooms concentrated on major roadways in the Greater Bangkok Area, key focus of VinFast’s expansion strategy in Thailand,” VinFast said in the announcement.

In 2023, Thais bought 73,500 battery EVs, or about 9% of domestic car sales, and that is expected to double by the end of 2024, according a Federation of Thai Industries forecast.

VinFast, which started to make EV in 2021 and listed on Nasdaq last year, plans to expand to 50 countries. It sold nearly 35,000 cars in 2023.

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty)