Stallions, the Thai minibike brand, will open a factory in Laos next year to serve as a production base for exports to other Asean countries.
Jaroen Laplonluelay, the chair of Power Stallions Co, said his company is now studying the legal issues of setting up a factory in Laos but plans annual production capacity of 10,000 units.
Next year it plans to export to Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, with shipments representing 30 percent of sales.
Stallions is also building a 150 million-baht factory in Rayong’s Amata City Industrial Estate, scheduled to be completed next February and with annual production capacity of 15,000 units.
The minibikes are currently produced by a factory owned by Tiger, another Thai motorcycle brand, in Samut Prakan province.
Tiger has a contract to build 500 to 1,000 units a month, but there are capacity constraints since Tiger also produces its motorcycles there.
Stallions started by launching three models at the 2010 Bangkok International Motor Show in 2010 _ the Momo, Solo and Gio, all with 125-cc, four-stroke engines.
A total of 2,600 units were sold in 2010 and 5,200 units last year.
Stallions expects sales of 10,000 units this year after first-half sales reached 6,319 units.
This year, Stallions will expand its sales network nationwide, with a goal of 90 branches, up from 46.
Kittipong Aroonpiroj, the managing director of Motor World Import-Export Co, Stallions’ dealer in Laos, said he expects sales of the brand, to start next month, will total 400-500 units this year and 1,500 to 2,000 next year.
Jaroen is more optimistic, expecting 600-800 units to be sold this year.
Motor World Import-Export will this year open 11 more branches nationwide in Laos on top of its existing three in Vientiane to support its growth.
“We believe we’ll be the leader in niche motorcycles in the Lao market soon,” said Kittipong.
“Lao incomes are rising due to the opening up of the country and the increasing variety of businesses. As well, motorcycles are widely used in Laos.”
He said Thai households have a preference for cars, but in Laos the emphasis tends to be on motorcycles.
Stallions are unique and can also be modified and painted.
High-end restaurants have also expressed interest in using the motorcycles for decoration or props, thus spurring interest in his company’s products, said Kittipong.
He said Chinese motorcycles are prevalent in Laos, but these are prone to damage and are priced at 10,000 to 25,000 baht.
Those from South Korea have been gaining in popularity with a price range of 25,000 to 35,000 baht, while Thai brands are considered top-grade and priced from 44,400 to 80,000 baht.