BANGKOK (Reuters) - German carmaker BMW Group is considering building a new plug-in hybrid vehicle battery factory in Thailand, the country's industry minister said on Friday.

Construction was likely to start in the middle of next year with an investment of 2 billion baht ($57 million), Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang said, adding that the factory would make hybrid vehicles more affordable for Thai consumers.

"Hybrid vehicles are still expensive now but once there is a factory established and batteries are available this will make it affordable for consumers," Atchaka told reporters.

A spokesman for BMW in Thailand said the company was not immediately able to comment on the investment but would issue a statement on Monday.

Atchaka said the Thai government was working with BMW to offer tax incentives in order to make the country a center for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Thailand is a regional production and export hub for the world's top carmakers, and the sector accounts for around 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

(Reporting By Pracha Hariraksapitak and Pilaiporn Promsompan; Writing by Pairat Temphairojana; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Richard Pullin)