Ducati Motor (Thailand), an Italian big-bike maker, invested 580 million baht to triple its Thai output to serve increasing demand across the globe.
The assembly plant in Amata City Industrial Estate in Rayong is its sole production base outside its home in Bologna, Italy.
Managing director Francesco Milicia said the parent company, Ducati Motor Holding SpA, spent 220 million baht to set up the Thai unit in November 2010 and has been churning out 5,000 motorcycles a year since 2011.
The 7,000-square-metre plant will be extended by 25,000 sq m so that it can produce 15,000 motorcycles.
Mr Milicia said models assembled here have engines sized from 800-1,000cc.
"The Thai unit is aimed at serving demand for these models in the local market and for exports," he said.
About 60% of motorcycles are exported, with the focus on Asian emerging markets where Thailand has trade privileges.
Mr Milicia said Thailand is a good place for Ducati's second production base due to its cost-effectiveness in terms of wages and taxes. It aims to produce motorcycle parts here to supply its Italian outlets due to the cost advantages.
The company has appointed a Thai company, Ducatisti Co, as its sole authorised distributor, led by managing director Apichat Leenutaphong.
Mr Apichat said it has targeted sales growth in Thailand of 60-70% from 1,550 motorcycles sold last year.
The company has marketed six Ducati models priced from 409,990 to 2.2 million baht.
"In emerging markets including Thailand, the big-bike sector has grown by an average of 30% annually, while the European and developed markets are sluggish in line with their economic crisis," said Mr Apichat.
The Thai dealer last year spent 100 million baht to launch its flagship showroom and service centre on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok.
It plans to have 11 outlets and service centres _ five in Greater Bangkok and six upcountry. Branches in Khon Kaen and Hua Hin will open next year.
About the author
- Writer: Piyachart Maikaew
Position: Business Reporter