Thailand PM Meets Tesla CEO, Sparks Hope for EV Industry Buzz

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In a recent development, Thailand’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, confirmed that he held a meeting with Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk in New York. Their conversation focused primarily on the burgeoning electric vehicle industry.

Being Asia’s fourth-largest automobile assembly hub, Thailand has been making strategic efforts to sustain and expand its position as a regional auto center. In line with this, the country has proactively extended incentives to EV and battery manufacturers and introduced tax reductions for local EV buyers.

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Thavisin, who was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, shared that his exchange with Musk revolved around EV Manufacturer Tesla, as well as Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX. This also included a discussion on SpaceX’s internet communication constellation, Starlink.

“We look forward to further discussions,” Thavisin articulated on the messaging platform X, previously recognised as Twitter.

Thailand houses automotive plants of significant global players such as Toyota and Honda, manufacturing approximately 1.5 to 2 million vehicles annually. Importantly, about half of these are exported.

Recent trends suggest that electric vehicles (EVs) are steadily making their foray into Southeast Asia, a market traditionally dominated by Japanese car manufacturers. According to Counterpoint Research data, EVs represented 6.4% of all passenger car sales in the region in the second quarter, witnessing an increase from 3.8% in the first quarter.

About half of all the regional EV sales are credited to Thailand, trailed by Vietnam and Indonesia. In these markets, Chinese automakers, predominantly BYD, are leading by a substantial margin. Against this backdrop, Tesla has also gained popularity in Thailand and introduced models in this potential-rich market last year.

However, as per Counterpoint, Southeast Asia contributed to less than 1% of Tesla’s global sales. Nevertheless, the leadership in Thailand remains optimistic about exploring more opportunities in expanding the electric vehicle sector.

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