Monday, May 26, 2008

Continental firms to establish €100 million plant in Thailand

The German automotive supplier Continental AG plans to invest 100 million euros or five billion baht building its first plant in Thailand, aiming to expand into Southeast Asian markets.

The government's promotion of eco-car manufacturing encouraged the company to invest in Thailand, said Thomas Chambers, managing director of Continental Automotive (Thailand) Co.

''Guidelines for eco-car production in Thailand, be they fuel efficiency or safety requirements, are close to Continental's technology,'' he said following the foundation stone laying ceremony on Wednesday at the Amata City Industrial Estate in Rayong.

The plant, expected to be operational by mid-2009, would create around 1,000 new jobs.

Jay Kunkel, a member of the managing board of Continental, said the investment reflected the company's strategy to strengthen Asian operations where it hopes to generate 20-25% of its sales by 2015.

''We recognise the importance of Thailand as a manufacturing hub and this new dedicated manufacturing plant in Rayong marks a strategic step toward our goal to become a leading automotive components and systems supplier in Thailand and across Asia,'' he said.

Mr Kunkel said the powertrain and interior electronics manufacturing plant in Thailand represented the latest milestone in Continental's Asean expansion plans.

Mr Chambers said Continental would continue to raise awareness of its broad product range in the Thai market for automotive electronics, tyres and rubber components.

''Despite being only a recent entrant into the Thai market, Continental already has booked orders for business starting in 2010. ... This confirms that Thailand is the right market to enter and further growth opportunities exist.''

The Thailand plant is the company's fourth facility in Asean after Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. It plans to produce 500,000 diesel commonrail systems, 2.5 million fuel injection units, 500,000 fuel rails and interior electronics components.

[Source : The Nation 22-28/05/08]


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