With Mazda announcing that all of their passenger cars and SUVs will either have a hybrid system or be pure electric by 2020, their plants the world over also need to be upgraded to be able to produce these new powertrains. As Bangkok Post reports, Mazda is planning to upgrade their Thai engine and transmission facility before the end of the decade to meet these demands- but it is dependent on Thailand's automotive policies.
As Thailand still has vague definitions when it comes to hybrid-powered cars, Mazda has to wait until the policies are adjusted to account for their future products and make Thai production a viable solution- both for domestic and export purposes. As it is now, Thailand's policies define a semi-electrified vehicle as one that has a 60-Volt battery in their system in order to take advantage of the 10% duty provided the car meets a 100g/km CO2 emission standard. Cars produced in Thailand will enjoy a further reduction in duty to 5%.
For now, Mazda's mild hybrid products are running a 48-Volt system- and this is fast becoming an industry standard. Unless Thailand adjusts their policies to account for this, Mazda's products will be taxed at a 30% rate or a 14% rate if it meets Ecocar II rules and regulations. The hopes are that the policy changes in time for the up-coming Mazda 3, which will feature the Skyactiv-X powertrains that are expected to be mild hybrids as well, along with the Mazda 2.
As it is now, the Mazda 2 is already built to Thailand's Ecocar II regulations as it produces no more than 100g/km of CO2- and if the policy changes to acknowledge this it could be taxed as low as 5% with hybrid incentives in place. As many automotive engineers will explain, CO2 emissions are proportional to fuel consumption, and as a result cars which meet this specific standard should also be acknowledged as fuel efficient.
The BT-50 is the exception as it already enjoys a 3% excise duty for local production, as Thailand has unique regulations for pickup trucks. With the shift of the BT-50's production to Isuzu's production facilities, this will allow Mazda's Rayong plant to up production for other Mazda passenger cars and SUVs.