Bangkok Post reported that Ford Motor Co is investing USD 450 million 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.
Mr Alan Mulally global president & CEO of Ford said that "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."
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% will be destined for markets outside of Thailand.
The 750,000 square meter plant will be fully integrated to support painting, trim and final assembly.
Ms Sue Cischke group VP for sustainability, environment and safety engineering at Ford said that it will follow Ford's global model of sustainability initiatives and environmentally responsible processes and systems. She added that "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."
Ford plans to purchase up to USD 800 million 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 USD 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.
Mr Peter Fleet president of Ford ASEAN said that "We remain confident in the future of Thailand's auto industry. 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."