Rampant demand for the Australia-developed Ford Ranger across the Asia Pacific has seen the company commit $254 million to increase its Thai production capability.
Ford is adding production equipment and facilities to its Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM) plant to meet huge demand across our region, and to supplement the joint-venture plant with Mazda that currently makes the Ranger.
FTM was opened officially in May 2012 and builds passenger models such as the Fiesta and Focus for Australia, plus the EcoSport. The flexible plant can build up to six models simultaneously. Current installed capacity is 180,000 units per year. This will obviously grow.
The Ranger is currently built at Ford's joint venture facility with Mazda, AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT), and this will remain the company's main production facility for Ranger in the Asia Pacific.
But, as Just Auto points out, AAT is forecast to operate at or near maximum capacity for the foreseeable future.
AAT produces the Ranger and Mazda BT-50. As we reported recently, though, speculation suggests Mazda might be considering a JV with Toyota and its HiLux to form the base for the next-generation BT-50. That’s pure educated speculation, however.
"This investment and new Ranger production will help us meet the extraordinary customer demand we're experiencing for Ranger," said Ford ASEAN president Mark Kaufman.
Why is this interesting? Ford’s Asia Pacific design and develop hub is in Melbourne, and the Ranger’s incubation program took place here.
Australia is one of the Ranger’s biggest markets. In Australia, it’s the clear number two seller behind the HiLux, and makes up about 40 per cent of Ford Australia’s total sales with a shade over 23,000 units delivered TYD.