Great Wall has made a huge strive in its effort to be a major player in the global pickup market by purchasing General Motor’s (GM’s) Rayong factory in Thailand, where the Chevrolet Colorado and Holden Colorado are produced.
The Chinese manufacturer unveiled its latest-generation pickup, the P-Series, at Auto Shanghai 2019. The new factory in Rayong is expected to become the second manufacturing base for the Great Wall pickup – after Chongqing.
General Motors opened the Rayong factory in 2000 and it has manufactured almost 1.4 million pickups and 4x4s. However, the company is restructuring globally (GM also withdrew from Europe in 2018) and has decided to cease right-hand drive pickup truck production.
“Low plant utilisation and low forecast domestic and export volumes impacted the business case significantly,” remarked Andy Dunstan, GM president for strategic markets, alliances and distributors.
While General Motors’ global footprint is shrinking, Great Wall is on the ascendancy and it sees its new P-Series pickup truck as a key to success. The company wants to become a Top 5 player in the global pickup market with sales of 300,000 units a year and Thailand is one of the world’s largest pickup consumers but hefty import duties require localised production.
“The acquisition of GM’s Thai Rayong factory will help the business development of Great Wall Motors in Thailand and the ASEAN market. Great Wall Motors will expand through the entire ASEAN region with Thailand at the centre and export its products to other ASEAN countries as well as Australia”, commented GWM global strategy vice president Liu Xiangshang.
Great Wall sales temporarily ceased in the UK when the Euro 6 emission standard came into effect but the official UK distributor, International Motors, has expressed an interest in relaunching the vehicle. The facility at Rayong is strategically located near to Laem Chabang, which handles more pickup trucks than any other port in the world – including UK-bound Mitsubishi L200’s and Isuzu D-Max’s.