BANGKOK: Tan Chong International (TCI) has officially opened its first Subaru assembly plant in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Tan Chong Subaru Automotive Thailand (TCSAT) plant is located in the Ladkrabung Industrial Estate, which is in the outskirts of Bangkok City and is now the first Subaru plant to have been constructed outside of Japan.
"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," said TCI deputy chairman and managing director Glenn Tan.
The THB5.0bil (RM645mil) plant covers an area of 100,000 square meters and is a joint venture between the company (74.9%) and Subaru Corporation in Japan which was fully completed in March this year.
At full capacity, the plant is able to produce up to 100,000 units and accommodate up to four models.
The fifth-generation Forester sport utility vehicle was the first model to roll off the assembly line in Aug 2018 and it will be distributed in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Also, high-performance robotics are used at several stages of the assembly process to ensure quality and defects are kept at bay.
At the painting line, the pre-treatment, electrical deposits, primer and top coat are applied automatically.
All this is part of the technology and skills knowledge transfer which Subaru Corporation has committed to.
Quality control and correction processes take place during and throughout the assembly process and is complemented by regular production audits by Subaru Corporation.
The plant employs more than 400 local workers as well as expatriates from Japan and Singapore who are based in Thailand to share their technical and management expertise.
To maintain overall safety levels at the plant, a committee oversees the safety standards of the plant and proactively identifies and isolates potential risks.
"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. We will be better able to respond and meet consumer demand for Subaru vehicles in the region, and perhaps even beyond the region in future,” added Tan.