Mercedes plans hi-tech boost to plant
MERCEDES-BENZ and local partner Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant Co Ltd (TAAP) will jointly invest more than 100 million euros (Bt3.8 billion) to expand the TAAP plant in Samut Prakan and add a lithium-ion battery plant for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
The investment, to cover two years, was announced by executives of both companies at a ceremony yesterday. Some 300 jobs will be created at the TAAP site, including 100 at the battery production facility, which will be the sixth for the German carmaker worldwide.
Markus Schaefer, a member of the divisional board of management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, said: “As part of our strategy, we are now preparing for the future of electromobility in Thailand together with our partner TAAP. With our highly standardised, scalable battery production concept, we are able to start operations in any region at a short notice and at the right size.”
Various value-added stages as well as production concepts can be implemented with flexibility at the new battery plant, Schaefer said. Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said Mercedes-Benz had applied for promotional privileges for its new investment in PHEV production.
“This move reflects the confidence that the German carmaker has in Thailand as its key production base in this region," he said, adding that the investment will also benefit Thailand with better know-how and higher technologies, which "will contribute significantly to the progress of Thailand's automotive industry”.
Mercedes-Benz will electrify its entire product portfolio, offering more than 50 electrified variants in markets across the world, while also promoting the 48-volt electrical system that powers its EQ Boost system.
The new battery factory is scheduled to start production in 2019, supplying batteries for Mercedes’ plug-in hybrid vehicles that are assembled locally. TAAP currently assembles nine Mercedes models.