Pattaya Daily News

16 August 2008 :: 10:08:30 am 3610

GM to Invest $445 Million in New Rayong Plant

General Motors (GM), the world’s largest vehicle maker, said on Wednesday, it would invest $445m in a new diesel-engine factory in Rayong,Thailand and to upgrade vehicle assembly facilities as it seeks to boost growth in Asia.
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Bangkok, the 16th of August 2008 [Pattaya Daily News]: The Thai investment extends CEO Rick Wagoner’s strategy of expanding in the Asia-Pacific region, where sales grew about 10% in the first half in contrast to slumping demand in the US.

GM may be overtaken as the world’s largest vehicle maker by Toyota as the Detroit-based car maker shuts plants in North America in the wake of a $15,5bn second-quarter loss. The diesel engine factory was scheduled to open in 2010 and would have a capacity to build 100000 engines annually, GM said. It would make 2,5l and 2,8l engines, it said. “Thailand and the entire Asean region will play an important role in our company’s success,” Wagoner said at the announcement, near Bangkok. “General Motors is intent on becoming an industry leader in Thailand and across Asean,” he said, referring to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The 14,492 square-metre facility will be GM’s first diesel engine plant in Southeast Asia. It will be located next to the assembly plant that opened in 2000 and now employs 2,000 people.

GM said the remaining investment would be used for engineering development and retooling of the vehicle manufacturing plant in Rayong as well as production of the next-generation Colorado small pickup for sale in Thailand and abroad.

The new investment would enable GM and its flagship Chevrolet brand to become stronger players in Thailand and across Asean, GM chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner said at a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday in Rayong.

”This plant is an example of how we are proactively pursuing two key aspects of GM’s global strategy,” he said.

The car manufacturer fell further behind Toyota during the second quarter as a deteriorating US market overshadowed gains overseas.

GM dropped 5% to 2,29-million vehicles, while Toyota posted a preliminary increase of 1,8% to about 2,41-million.

Demand in Asia and Latin America led GM to a 16% rise outside of Europe and North America.

GM said last month that it planned to generate $4bn to $7bn by selling as-yet unidentified assets. The company may sell or shut down its Hummer SUV division as petrol costs have cut demand for heavy vehicles.

“We are getting some significant interest in Hummer and other assets,”. Asset sales are a “lengthy process”, Wagoner said.

GM said in June it plans to cut North American truck production capacity by 700000 vehicles.

That effort includes closing four plants that make pickups, SUVs and medium-duty bakkies by 2010.

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Business News

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