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Asia: BOI wooing Japanese battery makers for electric cars

The Board of Investment will discuss with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra a policy to woo Japanese battery-makers for electric cars to set up production base in Thailand.

BOI secretary-general Atchaka Sriboonrueng Brimble said the agency would talk with the prime minister on policy and investment conditions for the production of batteries for electric cars and they are expected to be finalised soon. It also will meet with a major Japanese battery maker at its next roadshow in Osaka to discuss the matter.

She added that judging from talks with leading Japanese carmakers, they are of the view that there is a possibility of manufacturing electric cars here.

The BOI currently offers tax incentives for manufacture of high-technology batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), including a corporate-tax waiver for eight years, and the investors can operate in any zone.

An industrial source said there was a high chance of an investment for the manufacture of electric-car batteries in Thailand.

Meanwhile, Takayuki Sugiyama, president of Suzuki Motor (Thailand), said the company had introduced three models of the redesigned Suzuki Swift eco-cars, featuring a 1,242cc engine. It aims to sell 10,000 Swifts in Thailand in the first year and export 5,000. The debut will help boost its total car sales to 20,000 units this year against 9,600 last year. Toyota Motor (Thailand) is ready to invest in an EV programme in the Kingdom if BOI plans to extend its eco-car project to such projects.

Vice chairman Ninnart Chaithirapinyo said yesterday that the company had supported many projects launched by the government such as the production of vehicles fuelled by E85 (85-per-cent ethanol) gasohol or natural gas.

“However, the EV project also depends on the infrastructure of the country,” he said.

Ninnart said Toyota was not worried about the high competition in the eco-car market. He said the Vios and Yaris were still gaining popularity among customers, resulting in orders for 10,000 units a month. This would take Vios sales to no fewer than 100,000 units this year.

A source in the car industry said Toyota could possibly revise its car sales target for this year to 500,000 units from the previous target of 450,000 units.


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