- General Motors announced that its GM Thailand Assembly Center would
produce an additional 20,000 units, a 50 percent increase, because of
the large demand for the Zafira.
John F. Smith, Jr. made the announcement at the official opening of
General Motors Thailand's state-of-the-art assembly center, which was
presided over by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
substantial production increase demonstrates our confidence in
Thailand's ability to produce Zafiras that will meet the standards of
our diverse markets," Smith said. "The team here has done an
excellent job. It achieved ISO 9002 certification, an unprecedented
accomplishment, just weeks after start of production. In addition, the
team has demonstrated its ability to consistently produce vehicles of an
international standard and quality - an absolute requirement for a
global export facility such as the GM Thailand Assembly Center."
economic impact of the increased production to 60,000 units on Thailand
goes far beyond the additional capital investment staff additions Smith
said. It brings dramatic increases across the total value chain from
suppliers, to distributors to retailers and to service personnel.
a third of the Thai Zafira's content sourced locally, the increased
production and high percentage of vehicles intended for export will mean
increased export potential for Thailand's base of parts and components
S. Botwick, president of General Motors (Thailand) Ltd., attributes the
plant's initial success to two factors - quality and people.
"General Motors took a proactive approach by building quality into
the manufacturing, hiring and training processes. We have implemented
world-class hiring and training programs here that are helping Thailand
build a corps of quality automotive professionals," he said.
25 billion baht (US$640 million) new assembly center is modeled after
GM's plant in Eisenach, Germany, which is ranked among the most
efficient automotive facilities in the world. Its state-of-the-art
technology makes it the most modern car assembly in Thailand and one of
the most advanced facilities in the Asia-Pacific region.
The plant's current maximum capacity is 40,000 vehicles. The
Rayong plant is one of only two GM plants producing the 7-seater Zafira,
a compact multi-purpose vehicle, which has won an unprecedented number
of awards since its introduction in Europe in April 1999.
percent of the Zafiras produced here will be exported to Europe, Africa,
the Middle East, South America and the Asia-Pacific under the Chevrolet,
Holden, Opel and Vauxhall brands. Export shipments began in June with
the shipment of 25 Chevrolet Zafiras to Chile.
Thailand currently employs 700 people with the number expected to
increase to 1,200 by the end of the year and by another 200 in 2001.