DARMSTADT, Germany—Trelleborg-Vibracoustic is expanding its reach again, this time into Thailand, with the addition of its first new plant in the country.
It opened the factory in Rayong, Thailand, Nov. 4 in order to remain close to key customers in the country, the firm said. The facility spans about 42,000 square feet with the possibility of expanding it another 22,000 square feet if the need arises, a company spokesman said.
TrelleborgVibracoustic's newest facility will produce engine mounts, chassis mounts and body mounts for customers such as Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Volvo. Almost all the anti-vibration products will be earmarked for the local market, the spokesman said. He added that a low two digit amount will be exported.
The company added the factory to strengthen its global footprint is an important automobile growth market, said Jim Law, a member of the firm's management board.
Located in the Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate—which is close to Ford, GM, Suzuki and other original equipment manufacturers—the plant currently employs 30. The company plans to expand the work force to around 200 by 2018.
The site is the company's 39th facility globally and it is the first automotive anti-vibration products facility operated by a western supplier in Thailand, TrelleborgVibracoustic said.
“Many OEMs welcome our presence in Thailand,” according to Matthias Sckuhr, the firm's regional president for China and Asia-Pacific. He said TrelleborgVibracoustic is looking to expand the company's customer base with a focus on Japanese original equipment manufacturers.
Due to import tariffs, he said, car makers in Thailand want to purchase locally produced parts in a more timely fashion. “With a local supplier network, our customers can reduce their storage capacity and cut costs in terms of logistics.”
Thailand is one of the 15 largest automobile producers in the world, the company said. By 2020, production in the country is expected to increase to 5 million vehicles a year, it added.
TrelleborgVibracoustic's newest plant strengthens the firm's position for the future because “Thailand is part of the OEM footprint for new platforms,” the spokesman said. The site also can serve as a base for export to Japan, he added.
The company has been building a strong product development and production base in Asia for years. In addition to its newest factory in Thailand, it doubled capacity at its plant in Yantai, China, in 2014, and it's planning to add a third factory in China in the future.