Mazda, Ford joint venture to invest $350 million in Thailand plant

RP news wires

AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT), a joint venture of Mazda Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company, will invest US$350 million in its pickup truck plant to support the production of Mazda and Ford's next-generation pickup trucks. The investment will enable production of the new compact pickups to commence in mid-2011.

The US$350 million investment in AAT reinforces Mazda and Ford's long-term joint commitment to Thailand. The investment will support facility upgrades and supplier tooling for the production of Mazda and Ford's next-generation compact pickup trucks. Once completed, this will increase Mazda and Ford's total joint investment in the AutoAlliance Thailand facility to more than US$1.85 billion since operations began in 1995.

"Today's investment announcement marks another important step forward in AAT's development as a state-of-the-art manufacturing hub," said Toshinori Kusuhashi, president, AutoAlliance Thailand. "Through the ongoing support of the Thai government, Thailand's automotive industry has continued to grow and become more efficient, enabling AAT to build and export world-class pickup trucks and cars. This new investment will enable us to continue to enhance the one-ton pickup's reputation as product champion of Thailand's automotive industry."

The investment program will also dedicate resources to workforce training and development to ensure that AAT employees have the skills required to meet the high standards the new compact pickup truck program will require.

"This new investment in AAT reinforces Ford Motor Company's long-term commitment to Thailand as a strategic manufacturing base for our global operations," said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Motor Company, Asia Pacific and Africa. "The new production line, with the support of the hard working employees at AAT, and the continued commitment of our Thai suppliers, will raise the bar in flexibility, efficiency, quality and environmentally-friendly production at AAT."

AutoAlliance Thailand, already one of the most modern automotive manufacturing facilities in Thailand, has helped to set the standard for automotive manufacturing in the ASEAN region through its ongoing commitment to world-class quality, standards and cost-competitiveness.

"The new investment means that AAT will continue to be a global center of excellence for the production of both brands' compact pickup trucks, and play an important role in Mazda's global strategy," said Masaharu Yamaki, Mazda's representative director and executive vice president.

AAT successfully exports Ford and Mazda pickup trucks to more than 130 markets around the world. In July 2007, AutoAlliance Thailand celebrated one million units of production since the facility began manufacturing vehicles in 1998. A new state-of-the-art passenger car plant was opened in July 2009 and is currently producing the Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta for sale in Thailand as well as for export to ASEAN and other markets.

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