GM Strategic Markets, Alliances and Distributors President, Andy Dunstan, in announcement issued today (Feb 17) said the withdrawal of Chevrolet from the domestic new vehicle market followed GM’s decision cease vehicle and powertrain production at its Rayong manufacturing facilities.
“GM acknowledges the impact this decision has on our people and our partners. We are committed to treating our people, partners and stakeholders with dignity and respect throughout this transition,” he said.
“GM explored a range of options to maintain Chevrolet in Thailand’s new vehicle sales market. Regrettably, without a domestic manufacturing footprint, it is not viable for Chevrolet to compete in the Thai market,” he added.
Mr Dunstan said GM had undertaken a detailed analysis of the business case to allocate a new vehicle program to the Rayong site. However, low plant utilisation, forecast domestic and export volumes impacted the business case significantly.
In a sign that economic recovery was still out of sight, with a higher unemployment rate and shrinking factory production looming large, widespread news on social media last August claimed that General Motors Thailand had cut a further 327 jobs at its Rayong plants.
GM Thailand affirmed the move as part of a plan to reduce operating costs and slim down the manufacturing facility. The company laid off both regular and contract workers by sending letters to employees.
As such, GM’s new-model Chevrolet Captiva SUV is being assembled at an Indonesia plant and not the Rayong plant, where the previous model was made in the past.
“Our decision to wind-down manufacturing and sales operations in Thailand is consistent with GM’s global strategy and our internal capital allocation framework,” Mr Dunstan said in his statement today.
“It does not reflect the capability and talent of our Thailand team and our dealer partners, who I thank for their contribution to GM and the Thai automotive industry. I also want to thank the Thai Government for its long-standing support of our operations and for sustaining a highly competitive business environment in the market.”
GM and Great Wall Motors (GWM) have signed a binding term sheet for GWM to purchase the Rayong manufacturing facilities. Both parties are targeting to close the deal in the fourth quarter of 2020.
GM Southeast Asia President, Hector Villarreal, said the company was committed to supporting employees and customers, and will implement an orderly transition for customers, employees, dealers and suppliers.
“We will support our employees impacted by this decision with a severance package above Thai labour law requirements,” said Mr Villarreal.
Ongoing support for existing Chevrolet customers will continue for aftersales, warranty and repair work through a national network of “Authorised Service Outlets”.
“Our dealers will also be offered appropriate transition support in recognition of our long partnership, as well as the opportunity to transition their businesses to Authorised Service Outlets.” said Mr Villarreal.
“Chevrolet owners can rest assured that we will continue to honor all vehicle warranties and provide aftersales support through a dedicated aftersales network in Thailand,” he added.
Chevrolet Thailand customers can call 1734 for more information.