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Holden Colorado factory will produce cars for Australia again! Great Wall and Haval to source utes and SUVs from retooled plant

The Rayong plant in Thailand will once again make utes and SUVs for the Australian market, after a next-gen redevelopment.

Great Wall Motors has confirmed the Rayong plant in Thailand it purchased from General Motors last year will once again produce cars in right-hand drive for the Australian market.

It was predicted that the right-hand-drive manufacturing centre would produce models for all of South East Asia, however it was not known if vehicles built there would be up to the standard required for the Australian market.

In comments to CarsGuide, though, a Great Wall Motors Australia representative confirmed that vehicles produced in the Rayong plant would make it to Australia in the near future, though they would not be drawn on timing or specific models.

The much-anticipated Great Wall Cannon ute, which launches before year’s end in three variants, will initially be sourced from Great Wall’s most recently completed facility in Chongqing in south-western China, but the brand’s representatives didn’t shut the door on production of the key model moving to Thailand, simply stating the Rayong facility will have “much more capacity” to fill RHD demand.

What could be confirmed, however, is that future nameplates under both the Great Wall and Haval banners for the Australian market would be sourced from the Thai plant.

Last week Great Wall announced it would redevelop the Thai facility using its “state-of-the-art smart factory”, purpose-built in Chongquing for the Cannon ute, as its blueprint.

The Thai factory, once of Holden Colorado fame, will build cars for Australia once more. The Thai factory, once of Holden Colorado fame, will build cars for Australia once more.

Right now, the Chongqing facility has a maximum output of 160,000 units, although this has to cover both left- and right-hand drive global demand for a truck that it hopes will place it alongside HiLux in the global pantheon of pickup trucks. Once redeveloped, the Thai facility will be able to meet demand for 80,000 to 100,000 units in right-hand drive.

The Rayong facility once produced the Isuzu D-Max-based Holden and Chevrolet Colorado utes for all of South East Asia, where it found particularly strong support from its domestic Thai market.

However, with General Motors pulling out of its global interests to focus on the Americas, the Holden and Chevrolet pair were discontinued, and the purposeless facility was sold to an ever-expanding Great Wall Motors.

Could the stylish Haval 'Big Dog' off-roader be one day produced in Thailand for Australia? Could the stylish Haval 'Big Dog' off-roader be one day produced in Thailand for Australia?

The Cannon ute will be the first in a line of new-generation vehicles from the Chinese giant for our market. We also expect to see right-hand-drive versions of Haval SUVs in key segments, like the H6 mid-size SUV, and maybe even a version of the ‘Big Dog’ off-roader. The brand says there are “exciting new vehicles” being announced in 2021, so stay tuned as we find out more.