Money News

Tata Motors eyes green car plant in Thailand

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Tata Motors Ltd, India’s top vehicle maker, said on Friday it has submitted an application to build a car assembly plant in Thailand, the latest car maker to answer the country’s call for fuel-efficient “eco” car factories.

Tata Motors, also India’s No. 3 car maker, already has a venture with Thai truck maker Thonburi to assemble pick-up trucks and other vehicles, and has said it planned to use the country as a manufacturing base to expand its sales in southeast Asia.

“Tata Motors has submitted a proposal, the details of which are confidential at this stage,” a spokesman said.

The Economic Times said in an unsourced report on Friday the company, which has been named as the front-runner to buy Ford Motor Co’s Jaguar and Land Rover brands, would invest 8-9 billion rupees ($200 million-$230 million) in the plant.

Tata Motors would assemble a new low-cost car at the plant and also build a component hub, the newspaper said citing industry sources, adding Thailand would consider the proposal next week.

The spokesman for Tata Motors, which is scheduled to unveil a car priced at $2,500 next week, declined comment on the report.

Toyota Motor Corp, Honda and Suzuki Motor have announced plans to make fuel efficient “eco” cars in Thailand, which has offered tax breaks, duty exemptions and other incentives if manufacturers invest a minimum 5 billion baht ($150 million) and produce 100,000 units by the fifth year of operations.

Tata Motors’ venture with Thonburi is to build up to 35,000 one-tonne pick-up trucks a year over the next three to five years.