By Kingsley Wijayasinha
The Bt5-billion, 100,000-square-metre plant, is geared towards achieving a maximum capacity of 100,000 units per year, and is located at the Ladkrabang Industrial Estate near Suvarnabhumi International Airport. It is the third Subaru plant in the world with the first two located in Japan and the United States.
Glenn Tan, managing director of Tan Chong International Ltd (TCIL), the regional Subaru distributor, said the new plant will in its first year assemble 6,000 Forester SUVs from knock-down kit (CKD) parts and market them to Thailand and the region.
Tan Chong Subaru Automotive (Thailand) Ltd (TCSAT), a joint venture between TCIL and TCMA TH (Tan Chong Motor Image Thailand Co Ltd), owns a 74.9-per cent share in the facility, while the remaining 25.1 per cent belongs to Subaru Corporation (formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries Corp).
The new facility is capable of assembling four different models, with the Forester being the first model to be rolled out. So far, 100 Foresters from this plant have been delivered to Thai customers.
“This is truly a milestone for us, to be able to build Subaru cars ourselves in Thailand. From distribution, dealerships and aftersales, we are now also manufacturing Subaru cars,” Tan said.
“This strategic long-term move will allow us to better manage our supply chain, widen our product line-up, localise better and be less dependent on supply from Japan,” he added. “We will be better able to respond and meet consumer demand for Subaru vehicles in the region, and perhaps even beyond the region in the future.”