Ford to Make Thailand "Central Hub for ASEAN"

Yet more good news for Thailand's auto sector as Ford announce their plans for growth in the Asian market, and the key role that Thailand will play in their strategy. During a press conference in Thailand Bill Ford Jr., chairman and CEO of America's second-largest auto company stated: "We see that Asia is our next market as all the regions are opening up, and we plan to make Thailand our central hub for ASEAN."

Ford has so far invested 41 billion baht in Thailand, and is producing 100,000 Ranger pickups a year at it's plant in Rayong.

Ford GT40 and Bill Ford Jr.

Ford might consider building more glamours vehicles in Thailand.

The recently launched Focus sedan is imported from a Ford assembly plant in the Philippines, and enjoys a low duty rate under a Free Trade scheme. Presumably Ford will be thinking about producing the Focus in Thailand to increase it's competitiveness against rivals here. But it is also possible that other models will also be built here.

This news comes as a pleasant surprise given rumors that Ford was going to cut investment in Thailand because of the impending free-trade agreement between Thailand and Japan. On top of that the Thai government gave Ford a kick in the teeth over the Focus when it postponed the the E20 excise duty rates by 4 years. Despite this Ford is pressing ahead in Thailand.

Ford is struggling in the US and Europe, recording losses of $1.1 billion and $163 million respectively over the first 9-months of this year. Globally Ford posted profits of $2 billion in the period, with strong results in the Asian market.