BMW is set to expand local assembly of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) in Thailand following the granting of investment privileges to the automaker by the country’s Board of Investment (BoI), the Bangkok Post reports.

The BoI-approved project will see a 700 million baht (RM85.9 million) expansion of BMW’s Group Manufacturing Thailand’s existing PHEV assembly line at its facility in Amata City Industrial Estate in Rayong province. The company currently assembles four PHEV models in the Kingdom, namely the 330e, the 530e, the X5 xDrive40e and the 740Le.

“The BoI’s benefits will go to the making of finished cars and preparation for battery-pack assembly to be further implemented in 2019. Currently we have our team to work on this matter, as well as other applications for battery EVs and battery assembly lines, so BMW has yet to announce any plans until we come to a decision,” said BMW Group Thailand president Christian Wiedmann.

He added that battery-pack assembly is under study as the automaker continues to seek other partners as local suppliers for its PHEV versions, but said the company is committed to completing the project in mid-2019, a timeline that was reported earlier this year. The PHEV batteries are currently imported from Europe.

It’s no surprise to see automakers ramping up hybrid and PHEV initiatives in Thailand. In 2017, the BoI approved promotional privileges for manufacturers of green cars including hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and full electric vehicles (EVs), with incentives including tax holidays of five to eight years.

Sales of BMW’s iPerformance PHEVs have as such been gaining ground in Thailand – last year, sales rose by 269% to 10,020 units, representing 13% of all BMWs sold in the country.