Volvo Plans Truck Expansion

AB Volvo is to expand its investment in Thailand following its purchase of its automobile assembly plant in Samut Prakan, said an industry source.
    Despite the gloomy economic outlook for next year, AB Volvo still has faith in Thailand’s economy and is to make the country the regional manufacturing hub for Volvo trucks and buses.
    The Swedish truck and bus producer recently became the largest shareholder in its assembly plant through buying almost all shares in Thai-Swedish Assembly Co – the operator of the Volvo car, truck and bus assembly plant – from Volvo Car (Thailand), a subsidiary of Ford Thailand, and from Thai-Swedish Assembly itself.
    From this month, AB Volvo has become the sole operator of the assembly plant. But the source declined to give the value of the deal or the amount of shares AB Volvo bought from Volvo Car (Thailand) and Thai-Swedish Assembly.
    After formally becoming the owner of the Volvo vehicle assembly plant, AB Volvo announced that it is investing more in its Thailand subsidiary Volvo Truck & Bus (Thailand) Co, which now operates the assembly plant.
    This investment, which it declined to disclose, focuses on upgrading tools and equipment. New truck and cab manufacturing technologies are to be installed and an entire factory is to be modernised.
    The expenditure will support future production and enable the company to respond to the Asean market’s expansion. Thailand will be the base for manufacturing and exporting vehicles across the region, according to a company announcement.
    The Thai-Swedish assembly plant, which is situated on 110,000 square metres or 60 rai of land on Bang Na-Trat Km 25, will also be integrated into Volvo Trucks’ global industrial system, adding flexibility to Volvo Trucks’ global manufacturing strategy for serving global demand.
    The plant will have a capacity of over 5,000 VEUs (vehicle equivalent units) per eight-hour shift. Engineering and planning activities are already underway for production early next year.
    The priorities in developing the plant include training its Thai workforce. By improving the skills and capabilities of its factory employees, Volvo will be able to remain a leader in the global market, said an announcement.
    The source said Volvo Truck & Bus expects to sell about 300 trucks and 200 buses (chassis) this year and hopes to maintain these figures next year.
    Volvo Car (Thailand) Ltd is responsible for the sales and marketing of Volvo cars in Thailand. Volvo cars are still built in the Thai-Swedish assembly plant.


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