Ford may transfer Fiesta production from Mexico to Thailand

Article by Anita Panait, on May 17, 2013

Ford Motor Co. is planning to transfer the output of the Ford Fiesta subcompact from Mexico to Thailand in 2016 as part of its bid to ease production constraints in North America, according to report by Detroit News, citing sources privy to the matter. The report said that Ford will transfer production of the Fiesta from its sites in Cuautitlán, Mexico, and Chennai, India, to its plant in Thailand.

Ford already builds Fiesta in its Rayong site in Thailand, but it remains unclear whether the carmaker would shift production to this location or to other plants in the country. Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski told the News that the carmaker is always looking to optimize its global manufacturing capability. Ford builds the Fiesta at 10 plants around the world. According to the News, Ford wants to free up its North America’s capacity to pave way for the production of other nameplates.

Ford executives see the growing importance of Southeast Asia as a manufacturing region, and have pointed to Thailand as a model of success, according to a Bloomberg report.

Following the launch of the Rayong site in 2012, Ford said in a statement that along with China and India, Thailand is one of its key global production and export hubs. Bloomberg said that Ford’s Thai sites could build eight times more vehicles than the carmaker sells, and could export vehicles tax-free throughout Southeast Asia.

Ford commenced producing the latest-generation Fiesta in Mexico in May 2010 and in India in June 2011. The carmaker converted its Cuautitlán site in 2008 from an F-series pickup site to a car plant as part of Ford’s $3 billion investment in its Mexican operations. While Ford is planning to shift production from Mexico, Japanese carmakers Honda Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. are constructing plants in the country to build subcompacts for North America.

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