AUSTRALIAN-based Burson Auto Parts plans to open 20 stores selling premium products in Thailand this year and the next, said Darryl Gray, general manage of Burson Auto Parts Thailand said yesterday.
The investment cost comes to about Bt20 million per store, Gray said.
The first store will open on Friday in Ekachai Road, Bangbon, Bangkok. It covers 1,600 square metres across four levels and features premium-quality original equipment auto parts, global after-market parts brands and Thai parts brands, providing every level of product for most vehicle applications, Gray said.
The range of inventory being stocked is believed to be among the widest of any auto parts store in Thailand. The store has an extensive showroom to service retail customers and will also deliver parts to workshops providing a fast and efficient service, Gray said.
A second Bangkok store of similar size will open in Srinakarin Road, Bangna, next month, while others are planned in Minburi, Bang Yai, Bang Khen and Ram Intra in the capital, Gray added.
Burson is part of Bapcor Ltd, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Bapcor's strategic local partner in the establishment of its Thai operation is the Sammitr Group, which specialises in commercial auto parts and manufacturing.
The Bangbon store had a soft opening on July 21. Each Burson store in Thailand will have 12 staff and operate seven days a week apart from on important public holidays. Each store will cost about Bt20 million in establishment costs, including inventory.
“No foreign company has managed to establish itself in the Thai auto parts market, which is composed mainly of small operators with one or two stores,” said Gray.
“We plan to open four or five stores in Thailand this year and to eventually have more than 20 stores selling premium International brands alongside local brands. Thailand has a mature automotive market with a good supply chain.
“If we are successful in Bangkok, we plan to open other branches outside the capital and in neighbouring countries.”
Burson opened its first store in Australia in 1971 and has steadily grown to become the nation's leading supplier of automotive parts, tools, accessories and equipment.
Gray said its success has been founded on being independent, focusing on trade customers and providing “unparalleled service”.
Bapcor chief executive and managing director Darryl Abotomey said: “Burson Auto Parts Thailand represents an exciting new step in our international growth plans. Our new store in Bangbon provides Thai automotive trade and automotive enthusiasts with a one-stop shop for everything they require in parts, accessories, tools and equipment.
"Our entry into Thailand also represents exciting career opportunities for people seeking to develop a long-term career in Thailand's constantly growing automotive after-market industry."
Abotomey said the Sammitr Group will bring vast local automotive expertise and efficiencies to the Australian company, ensuring the best possible product range and service for Thai automotive passenger or commercial vehicle service centres.
Burson will also provide Thai repairers and end users with a premium range of lubricants, car care products, mechanical tools and workshop equipment sourced from high-quality manufacturers around the world.