December 5, 2012 / 2:20 AM / 5 years ago

China's SAIC Motor plans Thai venture with C.P. Group

SHANGHAI, Dec 5 (Reuters) - China’s biggest carmaker SAIC Motor Corp plans to start making cars in Thailand with local firm C.P. Group Co Ltd, as it tries to expand overseas.

The Bangkok-based venture, to be 51 percent owned by SAIC and 49 percent by C.P. Group, will have an annual production capacity of 50,000 vehicles initially, SAIC said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The two parties will also form a sales venture in Thailand.

The statement did not say how much SAIC would invest in the Thai ventures.

The investment is aimed at “further promoting the strategy of international expansion and seizing business opportunities in Thailand and ASEAN markets,” SAIC said.

Regional bloc ASEAN comprises 10 member states including Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

The ventures will initially make and sell SAIC’s MG brand of vehicles, and in time aims to raise annual capacity to 200,000 vehicles after introducing other models, the official China Securities Journal reported.

SAIC and its long-term partner in China, General Motors Co , also have a small joint venture in India, but SAIC has recently cut its stake to 9 percent.

Other Chinese automakers including Great Wall Motor , Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, and Chery Automobile Co, also operate small-scale car assembly plants in developing markets, mostly with local partners. (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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