Thailand has a fresh incentive programme for carmakers to build hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles in the country. Market leader Toyota was the first carmaker to apply for and receive the Board of Investment (BoI) privileges for hybrid cars last year, and it will be the first to roll out a new model under the government’s scheme in early March, Bangkok Post reports.

The car in question is the Toyota C-HR Hybrid, which will roll out from Toyota Motor Thailand’s Gateway plant in Chachoengsao. According to the BoI, Toyota makes 7,000 hybrids a year, 70,000 batteries and 9.1 million units of other parts such as doors, bumpers and front/rear axles in the Land of Smiles. The company’s total investment stands at 19 billion baht. Thai-made C-HRs will be exported to over 100 countries.

On the way is a new battery plant targeted for opening by 2019-2020. “Toyota believes the Thai market needs to grow step-by-step from the first stage of the hybrid platform before moving on to plug-in hybrids, battery-fuelled and hydrogen fuel-cell cars,” said Michinobu Sugata, president of Toyota Motor Thailand.

The report says that six other makers have applied for EV project privileges, and they are Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Suzuki, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Learn more about Thailand’s green car incentives here.

Toyota Thailand opened order books for the C-HR late last year. Two engine options will be available there – a naturally aspirated 1.8 litre and a hybrid 1.8 litre. The 1.8 Dual VVT-i motor makes 140 PS and 175 Nm of torque, and is paired to a CVT automatic with seven virtual ratios. As is the norm in Thailand, the engine is E85 compatible.

The hybrid model combines a 2ZR-FXE Atkinson-cycle 1.8 litre engine (98 PS/142 Nm) with an electric motor with 72 hp and 163 Nm. Max combined output is 122 hp, but there’s plenty of torque from rest. The battery that powers the motor is a nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) unit. Toyota claims fuel economy of 24.4 km/l and CO2 emissions of 95 g/km. Toyota’s hybrid system is well-proven, but there’s a five-year warranty for the system and 10-year warranty for the hybrid battery for peace of mind.

The 1.8L can be had in Entry and Mid trim levels, while the Hybrid comes in Mid and Hi variants. The base 1.8 Entry (979,000 baht, RM120,954) comes with auto halogen projector headlamps, LED tail lamps, 17-inch alloys, black fabric seats, seven-inch touchscreen audio (USB, AUX, Bluetooth) and seven airbags (front, side, curtain, driver’s knee). The top non-hybrid C-HR, the 1.8 Mid (1.039 million baht, RM128,367), adds on fog lamps, leather and keyless entry/push start.

The Hybrid Mid (1.069 million baht, RM132,083) will net one all of the above plus full LED headlamps, full LED tail lamps and T-Connect telematics. The top 1.8 Hybrid High (1.159 million baht, RM143,203) gets the full works, further adding on navigation and the Toyota Safety Sense pack.

Toyota says that of the 3,000 orders for the C-HR that it already has, 75% are for the hybrid.

The much-anticipated SUV is also open for booking in Malaysia. The C-HR will go on sale here in a single 137 PS/170 Nm 1.8L non-hybrid spec. Coming in as a CBU import from Thailand, it will be priced at an estimated RM145,500 OTR without insurance. Full Malaysian specs here.

GALLERY: Toyota C-HR previewed in Malaysia