General Motors (GM) is set to start production of its all-new Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck at its plant in Rayong, Thailand, this October. The announcement came just weeks after Ford, its competitor, kicked off the production of its all-new Ranger pickup in the very same province.
According to Kaher Kazeem, GM Thailand's vice president of manufacturing, the all-new Colorado will be built to world-class quality standards by a highly skilled workforce using the company's global manufacturing systems and technology.
"This is GM Thailand's largest-ever engineering and manufacturing program. It is proof of the outstanding skills and capability that exist in this country, and represents a firm commitment to our strategy of building where we sell," said Kazeem. "It has been a long journey, but it's incredibly rewarding to see the hard work and commitment of our team resulting in the production of a world-class vehicle in every way."
To produce the Colorado, GM Thailand added a large robotic press line to the plant, which can produce seven panels per minute or 2.3 million panels per year, and upgraded the automation on an existing press line. Laser-scanning technology has also has been adopted to ensure precise build quality.
The plant's body shop likewise received new tooling and robotic lines, while the paint shop received a major tooling upgrade. The facility's general assembly area was completely overhauled to accommodate new tooling, a lean material delivery system and dynamic vehicle testing equipment to validate engine and acceleration performance.
GM Thailand also introduced all-new assembly checking and error-proofing equipment as well as upgraded its test track to assess final production vehicles before they leave the plant.
The total cost of GM's extensive transformation of its Thailand plant? A cool $300 million.
"The Colorado program demonstrates that our manufacturing operations have the ability to meet the needs of the local and global marketplace now and well into the future. This is a truck of which Thailand can be proud," Kazeem added.