Thailand, Toyota to jointly develop domestic EV industry

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand will work with Toyota Motor Corp in developing the country’s electric vehicle (EV) industry, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said after a meeting with the automakers’ executives.

“Toyota said it sees the potential of Thailand’s auto manufacturing industry especially in pick-up trucks and eco-cars,” the government said in a statement on Thursday.

The announcement comes as Toyota plans to trial its first EV pick-up truck in Thailand in a fresh attempt to boost EV sales in the country where it faces rising competition from Chinese rivals.

For decades, the world’s 10th largest auto hub has been dominated by Japanese firms like Toyota and Honda Motor Co, which use Thailand as a major export base.

By 2030, Thailand aims to convert a third of its annual production of 2.5 million vehicles into EVs.

On Thursday, Thailand’s government also rolled out a 3-year tax break for automakers investing in automation and robotics after scaling down a consumer subsidy for EV purchases last week.

The country accounted for around half of all EV sales in Southeast Asia in the second quarter, with Chinese brands like BYD and Great Wall Motor topping sales.

(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)