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Production of Australia’s Ford Focus will switch from Germany to a brand-new plant in Thailand from the middle of this year.

Ford officially opened the US$450 million ($437 million) Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM) facility in Rayong on Wednesday and will begin production of the Focus small car at the plant from June.

Ford Australia’s Sinead Phipps said the local brand expected to start seeing the new Thai-sourced Focus models in showrooms in late July or August.

Earlier this year, Ford Australia told CarAdvice the specifications and trim quality of the Thai-sourced Focus models would be similar to those that have been imported from Germany since the third-generation model launched here in August 2011.

The production shift will also see the introduction of Ford’s more advanced Sync voice-activated connectivity system to the Focus range.

Although the fair trade agreement that exists between Thailand and Australia will make the Focus cheaper for Ford Australia to import, Phipps said any price or specification changes would be driven by the Focus’s competitors rather than the change to the import tariff.

Phipps said Ford Australia would announce exact pricing and specification details closer to the arrival of the first customer cars in the third quarter of this year.

While the regular Focus range will be produced in Thailand, Phipps confirmed the high-performance Focus ST would still be sourced from the Saarlouis plant in Germany when it is launched here late this year.

The 200,000 square metre FTM plant has an initial production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year. It is the blue oval’s second production plant in Thailand, joining the AutoAlliance Thailand facility that produces the Australian-designed Ranger and Fiesta city car. The new plant takes Ford’s annual Thai production capacity to 445,000, making it the one of the largest vehicle producers and exporters in the country.

Ford Asia Pacific and Africa president Joe Hinrichs says the versatile FTM plant will serve as the foundation for Ford’s plan to introduce eight all-new global ‘One Ford’ vehicles to the ASEAN region by mid-decade.

“The opening of this new, world-class facility is the latest example in our aggressive growth plan for this region, which represents Ford’s largest industrial expansion in half a century,” Hinrichs said.

“The world-class One Ford vehicles produced here will be part of our plan to launch 50 new vehicles and powertrains in Asia Pacific and Africa by mid-decade.”

Ford says the new FTM facility has the potential to support up to 11,000 new jobs – including 2200 jobs directly at the plant and 8800 indirectly through its supplier and dealer networks. Around 1600 are already on-site preparing for the start of production.

Read CarAdvice’s reviews of the Ford Focus.

  • Sakdjfhlajdhfladfladf

    I still think the tail lights looks like a Kia… 

  • F1MotoGP

    …..than the price should be cheaper!

    • MichaelLock

      That would be nice of Ford to be honest with the car buying public, but of that’s too much to ask for. I refuse to pay the same for money for something made in Thailand as against Germany, the difference is too much to cop.
      Australia should be ashamed with this action, I thought the FTS was ‘supposed’ to deliver cheaper vehicles. The government should put a rocket up Fords arse for this blatant abuse of this agreement, sorry, but this sucks and Ford, you suck even more.

      • Bruzzer

        Couldn’t agree more, well said

      • Daniel D

        Ford Australia is trying to make up for lack of volume in all its models by milking every car for every last cent. Falcon and Territory excepted as they have to sell them at whatever the market is prepared to pay to at least keep production numbers into 4 digits per month. 

        Its a dangerous game, because consumers like you who cotton on to it, won’t pay. They are hoping enough will. If they don’t then like all new Ford releases in the last few years, expect a price adjustment downwards in the next few months by several thousand. I’d say around 2.5 to 3K average drop.

        Problem isn’t just price though as their brand is on the nose with the public after years of poor service from the dealers and the factory that their cars don’t get a hearing in the marketplace as consumers once burnt or heard too many bad stories dont want to know about them.

        They either sell cheap or not at all in my opinion as they are rapidly loosing relevancy in the Australian market . 

        They can worry about returning profits in a few years, when they have sorted out their own house and got the public trusting them again. It will be a long and very expensive exercise for them. They might do a Chrysler though and just give up the Australian market before then. 

        • Ramjet

          Ford are positioning themselves as a quality brand with quality vehicles after some years in the wilderness and are within striking distance of second spot behind Toyota when they finally get more Ranger stock and price the Focus right. The decision to put the Ecoboost in the Falcon will keep it going for a few more years too buy hey I am just a one eyed Ford supporter. Holden have been price cutting more than Toyota and Mazda but does not seem to be helping them sales wise.

          • PJ

            and pigs might fly….

      • Smart US

        …it will result in more flexibility on pricing in the long term and negotiation for the client… i dont see it necessarily as a bad move… as the profit margin increases so will the chance to negotiate… as ABCDEFG said… the labor in Germany is so expensive that Ford right now does not make a penny out of any Focus sale… the only issue is Quality – if they keep it right there is no reason to be prejudicial

      • Biffwellington

        A base focus is already $2000 cheaper than the base Mazda 3, how much cheaper do you want it to be?????

        • Jul

          The base focus only has the 1.6l engine. We would love it if Ford was to scrap the ambiente and make the trend as the base model, assuming if prices go down. 

      • charlie

        it’s a lot cheaper, as I paid $5000 les then last year, same model . if it’s as good as the German build , then it will be worth it. TIME WILL TELL .AT THE MOMENT DON’T KNOW .TO EARLY. ???????

    • Pauly

      Ford Australia seem to be doing exactly what Honda Australia have done.

      Source the vast majority of their cars from Thailand and still expect people to pay premium prices.

      Guess what Ford? It didn’t work for Honda Australia, and im sure they regret it since they are no longer relevant in Australia and are trying desperately to get consumer interest back.

      Be very very careful with what you do with the Focus, Fiesta and Ranger. Pricing them too high will get you no where, your friends at Honda know that story all too well.

      • MichaelLock

        Spot on Pauly, couldn’t have said it better myself. 
        Ramjet, I am glad they are improving there quality and tech BUT, the same product made in Thailand as opposed to Germany means the product is built far cheaper and especially if there is a government Fair Trade Agreement in place.The only reason for an FTA between counties is so product will be built in EITHER country TH or AU and be CHEAPER because of it, so as I said Ford are absolutely trying to rip us off on Focus and probably Fiesta and Ranger as well….pricks!!And I have been a Ford guy all of my life, I own an AU and a BA2….not for long though.

        • tw

           Currently Ford do no make a profit from Focus or Mondeo’s imported into Australia, you seem to want them to continue to take a loss even thought there products are priced similarly to their competitors. No one is ripping you off.

      • tw

         Oh really Paully so the same goes for Toyota, Mitsubishi,Mazda and Nissan then since they all build cars in Thailand? Didn’t think so.

    • eveready

      Not ideal – but at least they are making
      the country of origin known.

      I am hopeful that prices will drop in line,
      but in reality all manufactures are as bad as each other. 

      Do you think BMW are going to drop the
      price of the rest of their 3 Series models when production switches to South
      Africa?  Is the 4 cylinder 3 series
      substantially cheaper now since it has been imported from Sth Africa?

      VW Jetta’s from Mexico and Polo’s from Sth
      Africa dropped in price in their latest generation – but not nearly enough.

      Reality is, companies price their vehicles
      on how much customers are prepared to pay – and most customers have no idea
      where the vehicle is built, but look only at the brand.

    • Chris

      and the quality…

  • ryan bane

    hope the material (especially internal plastics) quality doesnt decrease like it did when Fiesta production moved to Thailand…

    Mind you, I recently drove a german assembled Focus that had trim lifting on the dashboard, creaking and rattling after less the 4000k’s, so maybe it will lead to improved quality ;0)


      To build a car of average quality and average reliability in Germany, you need the money of a BMW car (around $40,000+).

  • David

    Why pay the same for a Thai built car as a German one? Come on!!!

    • Dave S

      Good question, but Ford are not the first to charge the same as the German assembled unit. Plenty of German manufacturers, assemble outside Germany, yet price does not drop accordingly.

      Ford, like other brands dont put a percentage on their cost. They charge based market value, how many they can sell / order. Why would Ford (or anyone else) give their cars away any cheaper than they had to? how else could VW, MB or BMW ect charge so much for their cars? – because people will pay it.

      Example, Holden has some great specials on the Commodore. Do you see the ‘special’ model in the front window? No, often you see a Hero product in the showroom, a Caprice, HSV or maybe a Sportswagon.

      Car brands, dont want to sell you the base model car.

    • Psychosteve_351v8

      Because it doesn’t matter whether its built in Germany, Thailand, Australia, or anywhere, its still the same product using the same materials but put together in a different place… the factory in Thailand is the most sophisticated plant, purpose built for the focus production. they are actually going to have more features standard. I have seen a Thai built focus trend, my 1st impression is very very good. all you people out there knocking this are very quick to judge without knowing all the facts. I bought the focus trend manual for $21,000 drive away, it will be Thai built, and I know it will be an awesome car for that price… much better than the competition in its segment that u tested, including the very over rated golf..

  • Robin_Graves

    So in other words the free trade agreement is purely a scalping exercise for manufacturers and nothing to do with the saving the consumer money.  Fancy that. 

    • Daniel D

      In that respect no different to the outrageous markups all European brands get when they suddenly become “premium brands” once off the boat in Australia. Forget they are fleet specials back in Germany.

  • Robin_Graves

    And I think a rocket should be sent up Thailand’s behind for removing the free trade on vehicles with large engines, so its all a one way street – hardly an agreement.

    • Colin Spencer

      To be fair, there is not enough room in Thai cities for lots of big cars. Smaller is much better in such places, they just don’t need big cars.

  • Ramjet

    Hopefully we get the 1.6 Ecoboost this time not that there is much wrong with 2 litre GDi engine. Should be able to get fuel economy below 6L per 100km with decent torque without having to pay the premium price for a diesel.

  • MYFORD touch

    Cardvice can we please find out if we are getting MYford touch as an option with SYNC? 
    And will Myford Touch and SYNC  be available on the FOCUS ST? 

  • Hyun

    “any price or specification changes would be driven by the Focus’s competitors rather than the change to the import tariff.” –>  We will charge you to the nose and you will pay for it…

  • Marek

    FOCUS ST to be released here later this year! NICE!

  • filippo

    I wonder if Ford will continue believing that offering just a 5-speed manual in the petrol and none at all in the diesel is still a good decision. Perhaps they should look at Cruze’s sales and stop believing that making a car auto-only somehow makes it seem upmarket.

  • Sebastian, Style Messiah

    A friend just took delivery of a Focus Titanium hatch.,. Very impressive car! One issue I have with it that is a total deal killer is the tiny boot this car has. How can Ford do such a good job on this car and then miss something this basic.

    For me I will be l will be looking elsewhere… A shame really.

    • Eureka

      Yes, the Titanium boot size is small – but all other specs in the Focus range have a larger boot.  Something to do with the Titanium running 18″ alloys – hence the spare is bigger and raises the floor of the boot significantly.

  • KrisB

    The Focus is a much better car than the Cruze but it’s the latter that’s selling way more. Ford doesn’t seem to know how to push buyer’s buttons the way Holden does. Now switching to Thailand doesn’t make things any better for advertising. The Fiesta lost some quality along with the steering reach adjustment, but hopefully it’s big sister doesn’t.

    • K20A

      Agree. I’ve driven both, but even without driving it’s obvious that the Focus is a class above. Heck, the Focus in Europe beats Golf in numerous magazine tests.

      The Focus, much like Fiesta, is somewhat still ‘off the beaten path’ choice for consumers. At least within my immediate environs (family, friends, colleagues), they would not think of Fiesta or Focus or Mondeo right away when shopping small / light / medium cars.

      Cruze has done a fantastic job in the past 3-4 years making itself a household name. Do people still remember Astra even?

      It’s a shame really. Ford has got some real quality products.. they need more exposure, more aggressive marketing. Their products speak for itself.. but can only do so until people get into the dealership doorstep and test drive it.

      • Sebastian, Style Messiah

        Agreed, Ford can’t market to save themselves. For a start, look at the dealerships, they look cheap and nasty. Ford need a brand make over.., problem is that costs $.., $ that Ford don’t have.

  • Jul

    Scrap the ambiente, why should we be short changed with a 1.6l NA in a focus? Make the trend with the 2L GDI as the base model and sport and titanium both with the 1.6l ecoboost and offer the diesel on all models. 
    Put in a 6 speed manual gearbox and fix the jerky dual clutch auto. 
    Assuming a price decrease and quality is maintained, this would make the focus more competitive. 

  • Geer

    Scrap the ambiente, why should we get short changed with the 1.6L NA in
    a focus?

    The trend with the 2L GDI should be the base model and the sport and
    titanium should get 1.6L ecoboost. 
    Make diesel available on all models. 

    And put in a 6 speed manual and fix the jerky dual clutch auto. 

  • Viet Pham

    If this is the case, then there could be a starting price drop, to as low as $21000.

  • PJ

    So Ford are going to build the Focrap in a cheap third world country now and still expect consumers to pay over the top prices, they really have lost the plot, no wonder Ford is on the nose with the buying public, except the taxi fleet

  • Antmindel

    Focus should have been made locally,it would have saved Ford.

    They were going to,but changed their minds at the last moment.

    It would then have outsold the Cruze,as in looks alone,the Focus is way better…

  • Gary

    the problem is there is a lot of brand snobbery in Australia, rather than judge a car for its merits people here tend to do as the jones do. Also, here people cloud there judgement over irrelevant things…as is evident from peoples comments here

  • Colin Spencer

    Quality in Thai production is up to Japanese standards, and they are going to be more reliable in our climate and conditions than the European produced models. The Focus is looking great with much better styling in these later models, particularly when the big mouth look is incorporated. All it has to do is keep trying to knock off the Corolla in looks and value. So far, the Corolla might have a good edge in the Australian market. Agreed with all suggestions, drop the 1.6 and “focus” on a good direct injected 2.0 litre as the standard engine. Simplify the drive-line by going for 6 speed manual, and 6 speed automatic gearboxes, hopefully Japanese boxes, not European. Reliability is everything in this market.