BMW Group has added another ASEAN region country to grow its production network in Asia. And sadly, it's not the Philippines.
The German carmaker is partnering with Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO) to locally produce BMW vehicles in Vietnam. It's the fourth member of the ASEAN to join BMW's production network after Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
THACO is an automobile manufacturer in Vietnam and is one of the pioneers of the Vietnamese auto industry. They have been serving as BMW's official importer and distributor since the brand was relaunched in Vietnam, and now they have taken another step in the partnership to make the 3 Series, 5 Series, X3, and X5 models in their Chu Lai, Quang Nam factory.
For now, BMW has not divulged information if Vietnam will export the aforementioned models to other ASEAN countries. Currently, SMC Asia Car Distributors Corporation - the official importer and distributor of BMW vehicles in the country, is sourcing its units from Malaysia, Europe, and the United States.
Should the Vietnam plant open up for export, it could serve as a win-win situation for both SMC Asia and BMW Group. From a manufacturing standpoint, this could take the load off the Malaysian plant in having a separate production line for left-hand drive models, while SMC Asia would keep a competitive edge in local pricing due to the ASEAN Free Trade Area or AFTA.