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News of  August 08, 2000


General Motors Inaugurates Thailand Assembly Center 

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (center) presided over the official opening of the General Motors Thailand Assembly Center in Rayong province. On hand to receive the Princess were from left Mr. John F. Smith, Jr., Chairman of the Board of General Motors Corporation; Mr. Philip Johnston, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations of GM Thailand and Mr. William S. Botwick, President of GM Thailand. 

Photo: GM

TRAYONG - 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.  

Chairman 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.  

The 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."  

The 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.  

With 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 suppliers.  

William 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.  

The 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.  

Ninety 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.  

GM 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.

(August 3, 2000)


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