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.

The company's 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.

New Ford Fiesta is set to make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2012. It is expected to redefine the small car segment with an exciting new look, a projected fuel economy rating of more than 40 mpg, and special technology and features that will make the new Fiesta the most fun-to-drive vehicle of its size.

Mark Fields, president of Ford - The Americas, says that customers want cars that are fun and expressive while also delivering class-leading fuel economy. According to him, the Fiesta gives you all the excitement you look for in a car, and will thus raise the bar higher for the small car segment in North America. He adds that the company’s goal with the new Fiesta is to take a vehicle that already leads in terms of performance, fuel efficiency, personality, and connectivity, and then make it even better.

Moreover, the new Ford Fiesta, which is the most distinctive and dramatic Ford Fiesta yet, is going to deliver the segment’s best miles per gallon, thanks to the company’s patented new 1L EcoBoost engine. The landmark engine has already been selected for the 2012 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award and Engine Technology International's Engine of the Year Award.

The engine, expected to deliver 40+ mpg fuel economy rating, is projected to become America’s most fuel-efficient non-hybrid subcompact, standing as a great example of the carmaker’s commitment to give you the most fuel-efficient cars, trucks, and SUVs.

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