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Ford Motor Company on June 24 announced it is investing US$450 million (THB 15 billion) in a new state-of-the-art passenger vehicle manufacturing plant in Rayong, Thailand, scheduled for completion in 2012.
The facility will begin building the next-generation Ford Focus in 2012 for Thailand and other markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The highly flexible plant will be capable of building a diverse range of vehicles in the future.
“Today’s announcement is another important step in our aggressive expansion in the Asia Pacific region to meet demand for our world-class Ford products in this fast-growing region,” said Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally. “Globally, we are committed to delivering a full lineup of Ford brand vehicles with best-in-class quality, fuel efficiency, safety, and smart technology that customers want and value.”
With an initial capacity of 150,000 units per year, the new plant will be equipped with state-of-the-art automation and utilize Ford’s global manufacturing processes and systems. Up to 85 percent of the plant’s production will be for markets outside Thailand.
“This investment underscores our long term commitment to Thailand, and its role as a global production and export hub for Ford,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa. “The decision to build our new plant was supported by Thailand’s world-class automotive industry, and logistics and export infrastructure.”
The next-generation Focus will be built on the company’s new global C-car platform, which will eventually underpin up to two million Ford vehicles per year sold in markets around the world. The C-car segment is currently the world’s largest vehicle segment, and is projected to account for nearly 28 percent of global passenger car sales by 2013.
The new 750,000-square-meter assembly plant in Thailand will be fully integrated to support body assembly, paint, trim and final assembly. It also will follow Ford’s global model of sustainability initiatives and environmentally-responsible processes and systems.
“Sustainability for Ford goes beyond our commitment to leading fuel efficiency, and we’ve been successful in applying energy-efficient techniques at our manufacturing and office facilities around the world,” said Sue Cischke, Ford 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,” Cischke said.
The new plant’s paint shop will utilize Ford’s environmentally friendly 3-Wet technology paint process, which improves paint quality, depth and durability, while significantly reducing Volatile Organic Compounds, CO2 emissions and waste. The plant also will feature an on-site wastewater treatment facility, energy-efficient lighting and use of day-lighting, natural ventilation, and use of local and recycled materials.
Local Economic Benefits
Ford plans to purchase up to $800 million (THB 26 billion) worth of local components through Thailand’s supplier network to support production at the new facility.
“Thailand's commitment to the continued growth of its world-class auto industry has given Ford the opportunity to further leverage the skilled local work force and market expertise, as well as the strategic footprint that we have already established in Thailand,” Hinrichs said.
The new facility has the potential to support up to 11,000 new jobs – including up to 2,200 direct jobs with Ford, and 8,800 indirect jobs through its supplier and dealer networks – when the facility reaches annual capacity of 150,000 units.