Germany's Schaeffler Group has officially started commercial production at its newly-built automotive components plant in Chonburi, east of Thailand's capital city Bangkok.

The US$20m factory, located in Hemaraj Chonburi Industrial Estate II, manufactures clutch components including pressure plates and discs, release systems, belt tensioners and synchroniser rings.

The plant has capacity of up to 1m component sets per year sold across the Asia-Pacific region.

Schaeffler Group's automotive division makes engine and transmission parts, clutches, bearings and chassis components. It has a broad network of factories and sales offices across the region including China and South Korea.

The company works closely with automakers, including Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki, and has an R&D centre in Yokohama, Japan.

Chonburi is Schaeffler's first factory in Thailand but the company sees significant opportunities for growth there. It expects Thai vehicle production to reach 2.8m units by 2020 – up from 1.9m units in 2015.