China’s Great Wall will target 50% growth in Thai sales this year. Great Wall Motor’s Ora Good Cat is already the top-selling electric vehicle in Thailand.
Great Wall Motor aims to increase sales in Thailand by 50% this year, the privately owned automaker said on Friday, while also planning to launch production of electric vehicles in Thailand in 2024.
GWM sold 11,600 units in Thailand during 2022, more than triple the previous year’s tally, for a market share of 1.4%. The company is targeting sales of 18,000 vehicles in 2023, with plans to introduce five more models.
More than one-third of the units sold in 2022 were of GWM’s Good Cat, a compact electric vehicle under the Ora brand. Thailand has provided subsidies and tax incentives for the car on the condition that it be produced locally. Good Cats currently are imported from China and was the leading EV in Thailand by new registrations last year, with a 39% share.
The Good Cat is marketed in other countries as the Hao Mao and the Funky Cat. Sales of the car are suspended in Thailand due to production delays, but the company will resume accepting reservations soon. It aims to sell 5,000 units here in 2023.
GWM plans to invest a total of 22.6 billion baht (US$675 million) to renovate a plant in Rayong that it acquired from General Motors in 2020. The company already has invested 12 billion baht and production of the Good Cat is slated to begin in Q1 2024.
The automaker uses Thailand as a production base for Southeast Asia, exporting electric vehicles from Thailand to neighbouring countries. GWM also intends to begin sales in Thailand this year of a coupe-type EV called the Ora Grand Cat, also known as the Lightning Cat in some markets.
Narong Sritalayon, managing director of Great Wall Motors Thailand, said “Thai people have a keen interest in EVs, and we predict that the market for electric vehicles in Thailand in 2023 will expand 50% from last year,”
Ora Good Cat – Affordable Porsche EV look-alike? Here’s what the Thai media says
The Ora Good Cat attributes its good looks to former Porsche designer Emanuel Derta, which explains the Porsche-inspired look and feel of the overall car.
The interior was praised for its elegant and minimalistic design. Material quality is respectable, with fabrics used on parts of the upper half of the cabin, though the bottom half uses less-expensive-feeling hard plastics.
The dual-widescreen setup, with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display and a 7-inch digital instrument display, complements the interior with its premium-like design.
However, there are a few aspects of the interior that were criticised. First of which is the lack of telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel, taller individuals may struggle to find a comfortable driving position. Also, the seat belt lacks height adjustment.
Other niggles include an awkward-to-access cupholder on the door, omission of rear air vents, and only one charging port for the rear passengers.
One neat feature of the Ora Good Cat is the Smart Key and QuickStart system. Push start button is a thing of the past now; all you need to do hold the brake pedal until the screen displays “Ready” and you’re good to go. When the car parked, just flick it into neutral, get out, and lock the car. It’s that convenient.
As for the driving experience itself, it’s an easy-to-drive everyday car with decent acceleration at city speeds from its 145 PS/210 Nm electric motor. The steering was praised for its accuracy and manoeuvrability is around town is excellent as well.
The Ora Good Cat is offered in three variants – 400 Tech, 400 Pro, and 500 Ultra. The numerical part of the name denotes their maximum driving range in km.
The 400 Tech and Pro are supplied by a 47.8 kWh lithium-ion phosphate battery (LFP), whereas the 500 Ultra gets a larger 63.1 kWh ternary lithium battery (having Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt as the cathode material).
The Ora Good Cat supports DC fast charging of up to 60 kW and AC charging of up to 6.6 kW. Below highlights the charging times:
DC fast charge (<60 kW) 0% – 80% 400 (45 mins) / 500 (60 mins)
DC fast charge (<60 kW) 30% – 80% 400 (32 mins) / 500 (40 mins)
AC charging (<6.6 kW) 0% – 100% 400 (8hrs) / 500 (10hrs)