Mercedes-Benz project looks to luxury EV niche

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A visitor checks out luxury cars on display at last year’s Motor Expo. Mr Gustrau says Mercedes will focus on EVs in the premium segment.

Mercedes-Benz Thailand is in talks with the Board of Investment (BoI) on its new electric vehicle (EV) project in Thailand, with a focus on drivers in the luxury car market.

The Stuttgart-based automaker is interested in investing in the EV business after the government launched a clear policy to grow the EV industry, said Bjoern Joachim Gustrau, vice-president of sales and marketing at Mercedes-Benz Thailand.

“We are making progress in talks on an EV incentive package, but cannot reveal more details at this moment,” he said.

Earlier in February, the cabinet approved a package of incentives including tax cuts and subsidies to promote EV consumption and production between 2022 and 2023. Participating companies are committed to starting production of EVs in Thailand from 2024.

The BoI recently approved a plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) investment project of Mercedes-Benz.

The investment is an extension of the existing car plant and a new battery assembly built on the site to ensure availability of technology for its PHEVs produced in Thailand.

Mercedes-Benz believes the Thai EV market will grow faster because more EV manufacturers have entered the market, especially companies from China.

Mr Gustrau said the firm is not worried about Chinese rivals because it will focus on EVs in the premium segment.

Thailand has made a good start in setting a clear EV policy and developing EV infrastructure, especially charging facilities, but it needs to work more to attract foreign investment in the industry, he said.

Mercedes-Benz Thailand introduced two new models on Friday: the C 350 e AMG Dynamic, a new PHEV of its C Class, and Vito 119 CDI Tourer Select, a multi-purpose van.

“We are convinced these two models will be strongly welcomed by new consumers who can sense the powers of their needs,” said Roland Folger, president and chief executive of Mercedes-Benz Thailand.

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