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Driving growth across Southeast Asia for leading players in the global automotive industry.

Tilleke & Gibbins acts for clients across the automotive value chain, from upstream automotive and automotive parts manufacturers to downstream automotive distribution and sales dealerships, offering a one-stop service for a full range of legal matters in Southeast Asia.

At the start, our multidisciplinary team helps automotive industry players structure and implement market entry models, including assisting with M&A transactions and joint ventures, obtaining licenses and investment incentives, and protecting valuable designs, patents, and trademarks. For manufacturers, we also regularly assist with land acquisition and factory construction in industrial estates and special economic zones. Once companies are set up and operating, we continue to work closely with our clients to maintain regulatory compliance across the region, advising on antitrust and trade competition, employment, import and export, tax, and other general corporate matters. And when complications occur, we also represent automotive clients in dispute resolution, including commercial and IP litigation, product liability claims, and class actions.

Our full-service legal expertise enables clients to capitalize on opportunities for success in the region, driving growth across Southeast Asia for leading players in the global automotive industry.


  • Advised Volvo Group on the Thai elements of its global strategic alliance with Isuzu Motors in respect of commercial vehicles, which included Isuzu Motor’s JPY 243 billion acquisition of Volvo Group’s UD Trucks.
  • Retained to assist a European automotive manufacturer with a full range of matters relating to its operations in Thailand, including assisting with the acquisition of land and construction of a factory, obtaining licenses from the Thai Board of Investment (BOI) and other government agencies, and advising on tax matters.
  • Engaged to assist an automotive parts manufacturer with the establishment of a subsidiary and factory in Vietnam to produce and export automotive safety products. Among other things, we assisted the client with company formation, negotiating and reviewing land documents/agreements, meeting with local authorities, and preparing and applying for the Investment Registration Certificate and Enterprise Registration Certificate.
  • Assisted an American multinational automotive manufacturing company with the sale of its two manufacturing plants in Thailand following the winding down of its local operations.
  • Retained by a world-leading EV company to provide ongoing legal advice in connection with its entrance and ongoing operations in the Thai market. Our team handled a full range of legal work for the client, including company establishment, obtaining benefits under the Thailand-U.S. Treaty of Amity, advising on obtaining licenses and incentives from the Thai BOI, applying for a direct marketing license, preparing a land and building lease agreement, and reviewing and localizing more than 10 commercial contracts for its local operations.
  • Retained by numerous world-leading multinational automotive companies to assist with the prosecution and enforcement of designs, patents, and trademarks across Southeast Asia.
  • Advised a British multinational automotive company on the proposed offering of eSim-based solutions in vehicles sold in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, including extensive advice on permanent establishment risks.
  • Successfully represented a German automotive manufacturer of luxury vehicles in a rare cross-class trademark opposition against an application for the protection of a mark that was confusingly similar to our client’s mark in a different class.
  • Obtained judgments in favor of an American automaker against seven product liability claims made by plaintiffs in Thailand. Owing to our arguments and evidence, the court ruled that the vehicles were safe products under the Product Liability Act.
  • Advised a well-known EV manufacturer on the most appropriate business model for entering the Vietnam market, including advice on issues related to renewable energy generation and storage.
  • Retained to assist a Japanese multinational automotive group in reviewing and amending its template distribution agreement, which forms the basis for the distribution framework with its local partner in Laos.
  • Successfully represented a European luxury car manufacturer in bringing a civil suit against an unaffiliated Thai secondhand car dealer for unauthorized use of our client’s trade name, trademark, and service mark.
  • Advised a German auto parts manufacturer on various financing options for the possible acquisition, via a holding company, of a Vietnamese target company, including advice on Vietnamese regulatory requirements on the transfer of funds for operational financing via shareholder loans or cash pooling.
  • Successfully represented BMW in a domain name dispute case against a Vietnamese individual who had registered three domain names incorporating our client’s well-known “BMW” trademark. Our argument led the HCMC Court to order the cyber squatter to surrender the domain names to our client and pay legal fees.
  • Represented a Japanese automotive manufacturer in defense against a product liability claim concerning an airbag that failed to deploy. Due to our representation, the claim was settled in favor of our client in court and the client was not required to initiate a product recall.