Ford: This Market Has Huge Potential

Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F) expects to start production next month at its spanking new, $450 million plant in Thailand. This is Ford’s second plant in Thailand and will have an initial production capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year, and eventually scale up to 300,000 vehicles. The 215,000 square-foot plant will commence production of the Ford Focus and may soon see new products added to its lineup.

“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,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.

The new plant is one of eight new manufacturing locations that Ford is planning to open across Asia Pacific and Africa by 2015. Thailand is a key production hub along with China and India, and “part of our plan to launch 50 new vehicles and powertrains in Asia Pacific and Africa by mid-decade,” Hinrichs said.

The new facility will provide up to 11,000 new jobs. Ford has already invested about $2.5 billion in the country, which is “very manufacturing-friendly” according to HIS automotive analyst Rebecca Lindland. “The reality is Asia is where the new volume is going to be. It’s one of the few markets that has enormous potential,” she said.