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Press Releases
09 Apr 11 23:53
Land Rover Looks at Defender Assembly in Thailand
Bangkok Post
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Land Rover is planning to assemble the next-generation of the tough Defender model in Thailand at an under utilised plant near the deep-sea port in Laem Chabang on the eastern province of Chon Buri.

Land Rover Defender, which has served both the military and civilians around the globe since 1983 in its current form, will get a facelift in 2014.

According to industry sources, the plan is to use the Thai Kingdom as a regional production hub for right-hand-drive versions of the Defender.

The initial production target of the completely knocked-down (CKD) Defender is around 500 units per year for markets in this region. An investment figure hasn't been disclosed.

"Although the figure is quite low to yield proper profits, Land Rover doesn't want to take a risk" said one source.

Land Rover was attracted to Thailand because of the extensive parts supply network and the privileged excise taxes for pickups.



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Today's Defender uses a chassis-on-frame body and would be counted as a PPV (pickup passenger vehicle) taxed at 20 percent like the Toyota Fortuner if made in Thailand. The more utilitarian versions of the Defender could attract a lower 3 percent tax rate (12 percent for the double-cab), although the vehicle would have to be adapted with rear leaf springs as stipulated by excise rules.

Should the Defender be able to avoid the 80 percent import duty and 35 percent excise tax it's price would fall significantly.

The source said the ideal price range of Land Rover Defender would be 1.5 million to 2 million THB, although nothing is final yet. Currently the Defender retails at 3.25 THB million in completely built-up form.

This is not the first time Land Rover vehicles have been built in Thailand. In the late 1990s the first-generation Freelander SUV were assembled at the Thai-Swedish Assembly on Bang Na-Trat Road outside Bangkok.

At that time, there was a special tax rate for SUVs, officially known as "off-road purpose vehicles". However, tax rates for SUVs and passenger cars were merged in 2004.

This doubled the retail price of all Land Rover models, forcing the brand to close down assembly lines.

Today this coveted luxury SUV is imported by British Motors (Thailand) Co., Ltd. the official Land Rover Distributor for Thailand. Model line-up: Discovery 4, Defender, Freelander 2, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.



www.landrover-thailand.com
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