The Automotive Focus Group (AFG) accepted the invitation extended by Michael Welser, MD of PowerTech2004, to see the Mercedes-Benz engine assembly plant at his factory in the TFD Industrial Estate, Bangpakong, Chachoengsao.
The opportunity to see the insides of a Mercedes-Benz engine was obviously a draw card for this AFG meeting, as it was one of the best attended functions all year. The fact that Michael Welser also offered German beer and a German sausage sizzle might also go some way towards explaining the turnout.
The AFG numbers were also swelled by two politicians from South Australia, on a fact finding mission covering the auto industry in Thailand, which is considerably larger than the one in Australia.
The plant tour took the members through the various stages in assembling the engines. These were all four cylinder models, the V8 twin turbo models continue to come in as CBU.
The models assembled here are actually hot run in Germany, then completely knocked down and shipped to Bangkok. PowerTech2004 then re-assemble the engines and again it is hot run on the Bangkok factory engine dynamometer.
Randy Simmons (CHS Asia) on behalf of the AFG expressed the gratitude of the group, and apologized that president Uli Kaiser was currently in Germany, and could not attend.
A staunch supporter of AFG is Leigh Wilmott of Austrade who was looking after the Hon Gerry Kandelaars from South Australia, who was very interested in Stuart Saunders EsDesign business card sized dental floss. Other engineering members who attended included Ron Grigaras of Faurecia, Ramesh Ramanathan Visteon and Matt Cox from Triumph Motorcycles. Siyaphas Chantachairoj from Hemaraj Land and Development added some AFG beauty to the PowerTech2004 glamorous guides.
It had been a very interesting plant tour, and it was certainly news to many of the members that Mercedes-Benz engines were assembled in Thailand. The only disappointment of the evening was that there were no free samples of engines to take home!