The automotive manufacturing powerhouse of South East Asia has just seen the opening of a new factory. Unusually for the pick-up truck capital of the region, this manufacturer doesn't do any kind of truck: it's Subaru.

Subaru is now building the 2019 Forester in Thailand image

Yes, Subaru has just inaugurated the new Tan Chong Subaru Automotive Thailand (TCSAT) assembly factory, located in Lat Krabang just outside of the capital of Bangkok. The new facility will be assembling the new Subaru Forester from parts and panels imported from Japan.

Subaru is now building the 2019 Forester in Thailand image

Known as TCSAT, the factory represents one of the largest investments of parent company Tan Chong International Limited (TCIL), led by Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Glenn Tan. TCIL is likewise the parent company of Motor Image, the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles in many Asian countries, including the Philippines.

The total investment into the assembly plant is about 5 billion Thai Baht (PhP 8.1 billion). Tan Chong is the majority shareholder with 74.9%, while Japan's Subaru Corporation has a 25.1% stake.

Subaru is now building the 2019 Forester in Thailand image

TCSAT will be the first major dedicated Subaru assembly plant in South East Asia. Currently, Subaru production is still centered either in Japan or in the United States. 

Tan Chong also assembles the Subaru XV in small numbers (about 500 to 600 units per month) at their Malaysian operation, but TCSAT is the first one with a major potential for Subaru assembly in South East Asia.

Subaru is now building the 2019 Forester in Thailand image

The operations of the assembly plant, including training and quality control, will be managed by Subaru Corporation. The manufacturing capacity of the factory is about 10,000 units annually.

Subaru is now building the 2019 Forester in Thailand image

Despite the production of the Forester being started in Thailand, the Philippine market will not be getting any Forester units from TCSAT. Philippine-bound Subaru Forester models will still come as completely build up (CBU) vehicles from Japan, at least for the time being.

More on that story here.