The Bangkok Post reports that Suzuki is seeking to build hybrid cars in Thailand, and is the sixth carmaker to join the hybrid project after Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda. Of the lot, only market leader Toyota has been granted Board of Investment (BoI) incentives. The first car to roll out under this scheme will be the C-HR Hybrid in March.
“We are in discussions with the government about how to introduce hybrid cars at our production facility in Rayong,” said Yoji Murosaka, president of Suzuki Motor Thailand, one of five Thai eco car manufacturers along with Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Toyota.
The Post says that Suzuki spent eight billion baht in 2011 for the first phase of its Rayong plant, which makes 50,000 cars a year. In early 2013, the compact car specialist spent another 1.3 billion baht to raise capacity to 100,000 units per annum. To date, Suzuki has spent 18 billion baht on eco car production and makes three models in Thailand – Swift, Celerio and Ciaz.
In 2014, Suzuki was granted Phase 2 eco car privileges from the BoI for an investment of 8.43 billion baht to make 100,000 cars a year. The new Swift is the company’s first Phase 2 eco car, which meets higher fuel economy and emissions requirements of 23.3 km/l and 100 g/km of CO2 (20 km/l and 120 g/km in Phase 1).
The new Swift for Thailand, which is powered by a new 1.2L Dualjet engine, is priced from 499,000 baht (RM61,762) to 629,000 baht (RM77,836). Suzuki aims to sell 15,700 units of the hatchback this year, and has plans to export 4,000 units to ASEAN countries from April.