Friday, March 7, 2014

Chinese Car Maker Faces Roadblocks in Thailand

Via Wall Street Journal: BANGKOK—When SAIC Motor Corp. 600104.SH -0.16%  more than a year ago announced plans to make cars in Thailand by 2014, it was seen as a significant move by the Chinese auto industry to secure a foothold in Southeast Asia's largest manufacturing hub.

But China's top auto maker appears to be running into trouble in one of its first major attempts to produce cars abroad.

A joint venture between SAIC and CP Group, Thailand's largest conglomerate, is struggling to identify the target customer for its British-designed MG cars as it prepares to enter the Thai market as car sales are slumping and political unrest has unnerved foreign investors.

CP Group also has signaled first production for the joint venture won't begin until the fourth quarter, according to an email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, a delay from the expected July start. The email said output would "start in the 4th quarter of 2014 with an annual production capacity of 50,000 vehicles...."

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