ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Ford unveils new plant in Thailand
Ford Motor Co is investing US$450 million (15 billion baht) to construct a new passenger vehicle plant in Thailand. The initiative is the first major foreign investment in the country to be announced since last month's deadly political unrest.
"The region is arguably the world's most dynamic and there is no doubt it will continue to be a key driver of the future growth of Ford Motor," said Alan Mulally, global president and chief executive of Ford.
The plant will be located in Rayong and will begin manufacturing the next generation of Ford Focus cars in 2012 for the domestic and Asia-Pacific markets. It will also be able to produce a range of other vehicles.
The plant will have an initial capacity of 150,000 units a year, of which 85 percent will be destined for markets outside of Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports.
The 750,000-square-metre plant will be fully integrated to support painting, trim and final assembly.
It will follow Ford's global model of sustainability initiatives and environmentally responsible processes and systems, said Sue Cischke, group vice-president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering.
"This new Thai facility will strictly adhere to Ford's global policy that our operations, products and services accomplish their functions in a manner that responsibly protects health and the environment," she said.
Ford plans to purchase up to $800 million (26 billion baht) worth of local components through Thailand's supplier network to support production at the new facility.
The plant has the potential to employ 2,200 workers directly and 8,800 indirectly through its supplier and dealer networks.
Ford earlier co-invested $500 million with Mazda in an automobile plant in Rayong to build Ford Ranger pickup trucks for 130 markets across the world.
At this plant, Ford plans to build the Fiesta subcompact car in the third quarter this year to supply Thai and regional markets.
We remain confident in the future of Thailand's auto industry," said Peter Fleet, president of Ford Asean, based in Bangkok. "With a world-class supply base, a highly efficient logistics network and a skilled workforce, Thailand continually proves its competitive strength in the international auto industry."