Honda Motor has begun production of electric vehicles in Thailand that it will start selling in the country in the first quarter of 2024, the Japanese automaker said.
Honda is the first Japanese company to produce passenger EVs in Thailand, although Toyota Motor also produces a small quantity of commercial EVs.
Competition in Southeast Asia’s EV market is intensifying as Chinese companies continue their push into the region.
Production of Honda’s e:N1 SUV began on a line set up at a plant in Prachinburi province in eastern Thailand. The line’s capacity has not been disclosed.
Details of the SUV such as its price and cruising range are expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2024. A prototype of the e:N1 was shown at the Thailand International Motor Expo in 2022.
As for Toyota’s commercial EV, the Japanese automaker this month began small-lot production in Thailand of pickup trucks for use in demonstration tests.
Honda’s SUV follows Nissan’s Leaf and Toyota’s bZ4X, which are already on sale in Thailand, though neither passenger vehicle is produced there.
EV sales are on the upswing in Thailand, where Japanese companies hold about 80% of the automobile market. A record 13% of all new vehicles sold in Thailand in October were EVs, according to the Autolife Thailand media outlet.
In response to the Thai government’s subsidies and other support measures, China’s BYD and other EV makers have been racing into the country, resulting in significantly more sales.