Ford Motor Co. and partner Mazda Motor Corp. will be investing $350 million in a Thailand joint venture to spend for plant upgrades, supplier tooling and employee training for their production of a new generation of compact pickup trucks.
Ford and Mazda released a statement that the new Mazda and Ford trucks at AutoAlliance Thailand is set to start production in mid-2011.
In a statement, Joe Hinrichs, head of Ford's Asia Pacific and Africa operations, said that the new production line will raise the bar in flexibility, efficiency, quality and environmentally-friendly production at AAT.
There are many reasons why Thailand, Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy, has become a major hub of light vehicle production and export (especially small pickups). This is mainly due to the incentives from the Thai government, its location and 67-million population, as well as its agriculture industry.
Since the Mazda-Ford venture was created in 1995, its investments have totaled to more than $1.85 billion in the Thailand truck plant (including the latest improvements).
Ford was a controlling partner in Mazda but recently, it has reduced its stake in Mazda to13%. In July 2009, a car plant opened on the AutoAlliance Thailand site. It currently produces the compact Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta for sale in Thailand and export to mostly southeast Asian markets.