Cequent, a maker of OE accessory items such as towbars, and a subsidiary of TriMas Corporation, has expanded its global operations with the opening of a new $2.5m, 55,000 square-foot manufacturing and product development facility in Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate, Chonburi Province, Thailand.

"This new manufacturing and product development facility in Thailand will serve as a strategic base, allowing us to efficiently expand our product distribution throughout the Asia-Pacific region while pursuing lower-cost, lean manufacturing opportunities," said Cequent group president Ed Schwartz.

The new facility has capabilities such as precision laser cutting, bending, press equipment and specialised welding. It will manufacture and market automotive vehicle personalisation accessories, including towing hitches, roll bars, frontal protection and roof racks for the domestic and global markets.

Cequent is well-established with the OEM customer base in the Asia-Pacific region, including GM, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Mitsubishi and Nissan. Thailand is a major export hub for Japanese-brand and Ford pickup trucks.

"OE accessories are fitted in the country of origin prior to the export of vehicles," Schwartz said. "The most effective way to capture that market is to be in Thailand and to be affiliated with the manufacturers."

"We expect the output of the plant to grow rapidly during the next few years."

Schwartz added that Cequent has an aggressive investment programme intended to broaden the plant's process capabilities and product offerings during 2007.