Ford has made plans to build a $450 million assembly plant in Thailand by 2012. The plans follow the coming trend of Asia's booming economy and will be Ford's second assembly line in the country. Their other plant, just five kilometres down the road from the new site, is a joint venture with Mazda Motor Corp, known as Auto Alliance.
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The new factory to be built in the city of Rayong, will be capable of producing up to 150,000 vehicles per year and is expected to have no impact on the Auto Alliance production schedule, which is capable of rolling out 220,000 vehicles per year.

Up to 85% of the vehicles produced there will be designated to export, which, Joe Hinrichs - head of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa - says should pay a large role in contributing to a larger profit boost for the company. Hinrichs says, "This investment underscores our long-term commitment to Thailand, and its role as a global production and export hub.”

Although Ford has much larger factories in North America, the company aims to increase it's total profit through the Asia Pacific sector. This year's first quarter profit came in at $2.1 billion, of that, North America contributed $1.2 billion. By comparison, Asia Pacific only added $23 million.

The 750,000-square metre plant will employ 2,200 new workers that will take care of the body assembly, paint, trim and final assembly of the production process. Ford says it will also tip up to $800 million into Thailand's local economy through component purchases related to establishment.

The first car to be produced at the new assembly line is said to be the next generation Ford Focus.

(with Automotive News)