Hyundai Motor Co has invested over Bt500 million to open the IONIQ Lab at the True Digital Park in Bangkok, a move that reflects its plan to seriously expand the company’s presence in the Asean region.

The move follows the official entry of the Korean automaker, which took over the Hyundai distributorship in Thailand after decades of presence in the Kingdom. Apart from ICE vehicles Hyundai is now starting to offer products from its electric car lineup here.

The entry into Thailand also follows the setting up of Hyundai Motor Asean headquarters in Jakarta at the end of 2020 – it has also completed construction of a 250,000-unit-per-year production facility in Indonesia in 2022. The office consists of a team of experts working to develop strategy, marketing, brand, channels and planning, to support its Asean operations along with a number of other countries in this part of the world.

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Hyundai is using Indonesia as a manufacturing base for electric vehicles such as the IONIC 5, using batteries that are also produced there. Indonesia has an abundant raw material resources including nickel and cobalt, which is required for making lithium batteries. It is the world’s largest class-2 nickel producer in the world.

Hyundai currently does not have assembly facility in Thailand, where it offers fully-imported vehicles from Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia in CBU (Completely-built-up) form.

However, it plans to start assembly of core models here in the future, in order to be price-competitive against rivals consisting of Japanese and Chinese brands. Chinese brands like BYD, Great Wall Motor, MG, Changan, AION and Wuling have been highly-successful in launching electric vehicles with highly attractive prices thanks to zero-percent import duty, result of a free trade agreement between China and Thailand.

Electric cars from Europe, Japan and Korea do not enjoy this privilege and suffer from high retail pricing.

Meanwhile, Korea and Thailand are currently discussing possibilities of forming its own free trade agreement in order to strengthen trade and investment.

While it would help boost Thai exports to Korea including food and rubber products, it could also attract Korean investment projects for electric vehicles, automobile parts and technology.

Hyundai says that the Bangkok IONIQ Lab marks a significant milestone for the company and its award-winning IONIQ 5 electric car “showcasing the company’s steadfast commitment to achieving a greener future through sustainable innovation in Thailand and around the world.”

“With an emphasis on innovation and sustainability, the Hyundai IONIQ Lab will showcase Hyundai’s global leadership and expertise in vehicle electrification while fostering creativity and collaboration through its local branch, Hyundai Mobility Thailand Co Ltd. The space will bring together diverse perspectives from around the globe to provide insights on trends and technology,” Hyundai Motor stated in a press release.

Jae Gyou Chung

Jae Gyou Chung, Chief Executive Officer of Hyundai Mobility Thailand Co Ltd, said, “The IONIQ Lab starts another exciting chapter in the journey of the IONIQ brand, following the successful launch of IONIQ 5 in Thailand. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to a brighter future without compromise.”

He added that the IONIQ Lab will serve as a hub for innovation, and sustainability. Combining these two elements in one place showcases the country’s dedication to shaping the future of mobility.

“The IONIQ Lab is designed to play an important role of the ‘Pioneer Playground’,  a modern center that aims to foster freedom of mobility, connectivity, safety and environmental conservation. It provides a dynamic space for exploring IONIQ’s intuitive technologies and products,” Jae said.

“The investment in the IONIQ Lab in Thailand reflects our belief in the country’s strategic importance to Hyundai’s ASEAN strategy, delivering exceptional services and products to forge a sustainable future. It underscores our commitment to enhance the experiences of our Thai customers with every expectation surpassed,” he added. “Hyundai is not just embracing the future with electric vehicles — we are also exploring their identity and getting ready to share incredible stories at the IONIQ Lab, offering our customers a unique space to experience Hyundai Mobility’s electric vehicle technology.”

https://www.hyundai.com/th/th