The Thai factory once used to build the Holden Colorado ute has officially been sold to Great Wall.
The sale of the Rayong ute plant was this week approved by the Thai Board of Investment according to a report from GM Authority, allowing the Chinese brand to buy The General’s vehicle assembly line, engine plant, and transmission plant as agreed earlier this year.
Once used to supply Australia and south-east Asia, the factory is being sold after General Motors announced it would kill Holden in Australia and New Zealand and withdraw Chevrolet from Thailand.
“Our decision to cease production at the Rayong site is based on GM’s global strategy and optimisation of our manufacturing footprint around the world,” General Motors said in February.
Thailand is the home of dual-cab production for south-east Asia. The Toyota HiLux, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi Triton, Isuzu D-Max, and Mazda BT-50 are all built there, meaning there’s an existing supply chain and a trained, affordable workforce.
It’s the perfect place for Great Wall to more aggressively push into the wildly popular dual-cab ute market in south-east Asia and Australia, as it broadens its focus beyond China’s borders.
Great Wall has previously said it will also build “new energy” cars at the Rayong factory with hybrid, electric, and hydrogen powertrains. The brand showed off a pure-electric version of its new ute at launch in Shanghai, although how it fits into Australian plans isn’t yet clear.
Set to arrive in Australia before the end of this year, the new Great Wall ute will have 120kW of power and 400Nm of torque, and a 2250kg braked-towing capacity.
When it arrives late this year, the Great Wall ute will offer both ute and cab-chassis body styles.
The Department of Transport and Regional Services’ Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS) has recorded the name “Poer” for the new ute, though we understand this name isn’t guaranteed for Australia. In China, it’s known as the Cannon.
As the potential for growth in the Chinese car market has slowed, Great Wall and parent company Haval have acknowledged the need to grow sales around the world.