Construction on the new 17-hectare facility began in September 2016 at a cost of VND7 trillion (US$308 million), enabling Thaco to produce up to 8,000 full-size buses and 12,000 minibuses per year.
Thaco Chairman Tran Ba Duong said that the company has invested in a research and development centre to design buses that have a domestic content ratio of over 60%, meet Euro 4 emission standards and above, and are suitable with Vietnam’s traffic conditions.
In its early days, Thaco used chassis manufactured by Hyundai for its vehicles but has been able to design and manufacture its own chassis since 2013, helping to increase the domestic content to 50%.
To date, Thaco has shipped more than 14,000 buses of various segments and accounts for more than half of the bus market in Vietnam.
Speaking at the opening of Thaco’s bus plant, Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung stated that the production of buses with high domestic content is a significant step in realising Vietnam’s automobile development strategy until 2025, with a view to 2035.
He urged Thaco to continue investing in research in order to roll out high-quality vehicles at a more affordable price, while pledging to create improved mechanisms to support the company in realising Vietnam’s auto development plan.
Thaco’s chairman said that, since 2016, the company has developed plans for new manufacturing facilities to increase the domestic content ratio of its vehicles to the minimum of 40% to be eligible for export to ASEAN countries.
On the occasion, Thaco signed several agreements to export a total of 1,150 vehicles to Thailand, Taiwan, Cambodia and the Philippines in the next few years, with at least 550 units planned for 2018.