Subaru Goes Big In Southeast Asia With Their New Plant In Thailand

Subaru is well-known for manufacturing a large percentage of their vehicles at their Gunma plant in Japan, but with the rapidly increasing popularity of the brand in Asia, it was time for some big moves to keep up with demand in the region. Subaru Philippines recently invited Tuason Racing and Chicdriven’s Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason to the inauguration of their new Thailand plant, and here’s what happened as she got to know the brand better.

Making a Mark

The sparkling new facility can be found at the Ladkragang Industrial Estate

The Tan Chong Subaru Automotive (Thailand) Limited (TCSAT) is an automotive plant occupying 100,000 square meters of industrial space in Bangkok. Worth an initial investment of around P8.2 billion pesos, the facility is the first outside of Japan to fully produce Subaru cars in Asia.

This is the growth opportunity that Glenn Tan has taken.

Before becoming Tan Chong International Limited’s Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Tan was the CEO of TCIL’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Motor Image, which distributed the Subaru brand in the Philippines and numerous other Asian countries. He spearheaded the rapid expansion which included the opening of over 130 branches and dealerships in the region.

Now he takes a step further from distribution to manufacturing in this partnership between TCIL and Subaru Corporation 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 Tan, whom you might have seen as a guest judge on Asia’s Next Top Model and the brains behind the popular Subaru Palm Challenge.

Monika Sta. Maria (right) is surely a familiar face for car show fans!

Better Brand Presence

According to Tan, this strategic long- term move will allow them to manage their supply chain better and widen their product line up. With Thailand being an automotive hub where many major Japanese car manufacturers have set up shop, he added that it would be easier to localize and be less dependent on supply from Japan.

At the moment, the plant is producing the Forester nameplate exclusively and is expected to deliver about 6000 units in its first year with a full potential of around 100,000 units.

Global Quality Ensured

TSCAT has more than 400 workers and engages a team of Japanese staff to ensure that production standards and processes meet the same stringent levels as in Japan. High-performance robotics are used at several stages of the assembly process to provide superior quality and zero defects. At the painting line, the pre-treatment, electrical deposits, primer, and top coat application is automated as well. The key welding points of the car body and the sealer application for glass components are also automated to achieve total consistency.

The new-generation Forester being put through its paces

The plant also has a test track, specially built to assess the condition of every car before they leave the factory. These robust quality control procedures ensure that every car produced at TCSAT is safe, comfortable and reliable.

The milestone event was celebrated by a coming together of representatives from all over the ten markets Motor Image caters to; all in support Tan’s big move for the brand and the region.

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