The sale of the GM Rayong plant was approved by the Thai Board of Investment (BOI) this week, allowing the transaction to go forth. Great Wall Motors has agreed to purchase the vehicle assembly line at the Rayong facility, along with the engine and transmission plant that sits on the same parcel of land.
The company plans to build internal combustion engine vehicles at the plant, along with “new energy vehicles”, which are what China calls electric, hydrogen, plug-in hybrid and other zero or low-emission vehicles. Previous reports also indicated Great Wall Motors would build vehicles from its Haval brand at the site, which offers a range of crossovers and utility vehicles that will fill the gap left by Chevrolet when it officially departs.
GM previously built the Chevrolet Colorado and Chevrolet Trailblazer at the Rayong plant, which were also exported to Australia and New Zealand as the Holden Colorado and Trailblazer. The automaker decided to close the facility after “low plant utilization and forecast volumes,” made continued production at the site “unsustainable.”
“Our decision to cease production at the Rayong site is based on GM’s global strategy and optimization of our manufacturing footprint around the world,” the automaker said in February. “In this context, sale of the Rayong plants to (Great Wall Motors) is the best option to support future vehicle manufacturing at this site.”
While GM will no longer produce or sell new vehicles in Thailand going forward, the automaker will maintain a small presence in the region for aftersales support and service. It also plans to fulfill all active custom warranties in the region in the coming years.
Great Wall Motors plans to begin production at the former GM Rayong plant in the first quarter of next year.