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April 26, 2019

10 Facts You Need to Know About Subaru's Thailand Assembly Plant

Tan Chong International Limited (TCIL) and Subaru Corporation joined forces to build the Japanese carmaker’s first assembly plant in Asia outside Japan. Representing a significant investment, but more importantly, a cementing of a long-term partnership, the new Tan Chong Subaru Automotive (Thailand) or TCSAT plant will serve the growing demand for Subaru vehicles under the Motor Image distribution network.

Here are some facts that you need to know about this brand-new assembly hub that may one day serve up your favorite Subaru vehicles.

#1. Thailand was chosen as the assembly hub largely due to the country’s longstanding reputation as an automotive hub in Southeast Asia. The country has a solid network of localized suppliers allowing for efficient production and delivery time, as well as helping keep costs more reasonable for the region.

#2. TCSAT is the fourth Subaru assembly plant in the world and the first in Asia outside of Japan. At its current size, it is one of the largest in Asia. It occupies over 100,000 square meters of land at the Ladkrabang Industrial Estate in Bangkok, Thailand.

#3. It is a joint-venture between Tan Chong International Limited (TCIL) and Subaru Corporation. TCIL holds majority shares at 74.9 percent, while the Japanese carmaker has a 25.1 percent stake.

#4. The assembly plant can churn out a maximum of 100,000 units annually. Currently, the plant produces only one Subaru model (the Forester), at 24 units day. These numbers are expected to rapidly improve in the coming months as the system is fine tuned and the entire plant gradually moves to full capacity.

#5. The plant can produce up to 4 Subaru models. It can produce both left- and right-hand drive configurations. Though there hasn’t been any confirmation yet, the Subaru XV may be produced in Thailand in the near future.

#6. It is also equipped to assemble EyeSight variants, which is a key driver in the present Subaru product line. The first one will roll out in June or July of this year.

#7. It employs more than 400 high-skilled local workers, with expats from Japan and Singapore relocating to the country to share technical and management expertise.

#8. TCSAT has adopted newer technologies and incorporated high-performance robotics in its assembly line. While there are still steps that require the discerning human eye, production areas such as the key welding points of the car body and the final paint application (pre-treatment, electrical deposits, primer, and top coat) utilize automated technology to achieve total consistency.

#9. Thailand has already received the first 100 units to roll off the production line. The next two countries to be on the receiving end of “Made In Thailand” Forester inventory will be Malaysia and Vietnam. In the past years, Vietnam’s middle class has rapidly grown and Subaru has sold over 100 units in the last year, a good number for a country wherein the motorcycle is king.

#10. The plant will start out by serving Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia. The Philippines is not yet included in the initial list, considering its annual forecast of almost 2,000 units, which is one of the biggest in SEA. For now, all Subaru vehicles in the country will still be made in Japan.

Words and Select Photos by Gen Tiu.

1 comment:

  1. good idea since there have been so many recalls from Japan sourced autos


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