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Mercedes-Benz extend assembly contract with Thonburi Automotive

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Mercedes-Benz (Thailand) Ltd (MBT) has signed a 10-year extension contract with long-time partner Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant Co Ltd (TAAP) in car assembly and battery production in Thailand.

MBT president and CEO Martin Schwenk said during a press conference at the TAAP site, “Reflecting on our 120-year history, Mercedes-Benz was the first car brand to enter Thailand. Today, we embark on a new era as the first luxury car brand to produce batteries and assemble electric vehicles, starting with the EQS 500 4MATIC AMG Premium, successfully produce through the collaborations with our business partners.”

Martin Schwenk

“Moving forward to meet Thai consumers’ demand for electric vehicles, Mercedes-Benz will continue its commitment by extending the contract with Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant for the next decade, aiming to continuously innovate production with global standards,” he added.

The collaboration between MBT and TAAP dates back to 1979 with over 13 models (A-Class, C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, GLA, GLC, GLE, GLS, C-Coupe, GLC-Coupe, CLS, Maybach S-Class and EQS) are produced in this facility. Assembly of the 200,000th Mercedes-Benz vehicle in Thailand was achieved in January this year.

Ratapon Viriyaphant, chairman of TAAP and Thonburi Energy Storage Manufacturing Co Ltd (TESM), added: “Apart from preparing for production factors and adopting technology and innovations from Mercedes-Benz to expand the car assembly line to cover all segments in the country, we also support battery production and electric vehicle assembly through TESM, which has started producing batteries and assembling electric cars, starting with the EQS 500 4MATIC AMG Premium.”

At the press conference, MBT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), initiating the delivery of 2 MWh lithium-ion battery cellblocks before July 2024, supporting Thai research, development, and technology endeavors, while enhancing Thai personnel capabilities and testing locally produced electric vehicle batteries to meet global standards.

Professor Dr Sukit Limpijumnong, president of the NSTDA, said, “”This cooperation, led by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) through NSTDA, plays a significant role in promoting research and development of Energy Storage Systems (ESS) from electric vehicle batteries.”

“We are also collaborating with Mercedes-Benz and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) to establish a design and testing center for energy storage systems from electric vehicle batteries in Thailand, the first in ASEAN,” he added. “The NSTDA is committed to researching and developing innovations that address sustainable energy use and driving Thailand to become a leader in green technology. Furthermore, this cooperation demonstrates the potential of collaboration between the public and private sectors in the global automotive industry to promote an environmentally-friendly research, development, and innovation ecosystem for modern electric vehicles. The battery modules are considered as valuable resource for our researchers and a key component in achieving our goals in clean energy research, environmental sustainability and sustainable development for Thai society,” he said.