A new midsize Chevrolet truck is included in General Motors Co.'s plans in Thailand. This truck will be exported to Europe and parts of Southeast Asia as part of GM's plans to expand in the two regional pickup markets.
In a phone interview, Martin Apfel, executive director for GM's Southeast Asian operations, revealed that GM has a target to sell at least 100,000 units of the new truck in the first year, with global production of the vehicle to be centered in Thailand and Brazil.
Apfel added that what's logical is to build "where the customer wants it" in order to keep the costs down. He described Thailand and Brazil as the "two centers of gravity" for midsize trucks.
Domestic and overseas demand rose as the global economy recovers. And so, GM, Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are all increasing production in Thailand this year.
In the first five months of the year, auto output in Thailand doubled. For the second time in three months, the country's Finance Ministry raised its 2010 economic growth forecast as exports rose, offsetting the impact of recent political unrest. Apfel said that truck production is part of GM's plans to invest $467 million in Thailand.
He clarified that production will begin as soon as GM's deal to build a truck with Isuzu Motors Ltd. ends. He added that GM's plans to construct a new diesel-engine plant in eastern Rayong province are on course. The facility, which will make engines for the new truck, is in its "last stages" of completion. [via autonews]