ZF Friedrichshafen has officially opened its new plant in Rayong, Thailand. Regional subsidiary ZF Lemforder (Thailand) makes axle systems for passenger cars at the facility.

ZF has had a presence in Thailand for nine years and has managed to substantially expand its market share over this period. Last year sales in the country exceeded EUR47m (US$60m), with the figure forecast to increase to around EUR70m by 2014.

"That is a very pleasing development, which we can successfully build upon with the increased production capacity we now have," said Reinhard Buhl, chassis technology chief. "In this important emerging market, we intend to position ourselves well with production facilities."

With the relocation to the new plant, which is situated on the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate, around 25 kilometres from the existing location, ZF has doubled its production area in Thailand to 7,000 sq m; additional scope for expansion is still available at the site. 135 employees have been manufacturing axle systems for Thailand and the region of Asia-Pacific at the new facility since April.

In addition to BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and General Motors (GM), which ZF Lemforder Thailand has been supplying for some time, the company has now also managed to secure Ford as a customer.