Ford opens 14 billion baht assembly plant in Rayong

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U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Industry Minister Pongsvas Syasti were on hand as Ford Thailand Manufacturing opened a new 14 billion baht assembly plant to power the American automaker’s Asian expansion.

Top Ford executives gave the VIP tour May 3 at Ford’s Tasith Pluakdaeng facility in Rayong, which will in June begin producing six new models, with two more to be added by 2015. The 200,000 sq. meter plant will employ 2,200 employees and create another 8,800 indirect jobs for regional suppliers and dealers.

U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney (2nd left), Ford ASEAN President Peter Fleet (6th left), Ford Asia Pacific and Africa President Joe Hinrichs (3rd right), Industry Minister Pongsvas Syasti (2nd right) and honored guests admire the new Ford Focus. U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney (2nd left), Ford ASEAN President Peter Fleet (6th left), Ford Asia Pacific and Africa President Joe Hinrichs (3rd right), Industry Minister Pongsvas Syasti (2nd right) and honored guests admire the new Ford Focus.

“This new factory is a part of an eight-car model production plan called ‘One Ford’ to satisfy the demands from new markets the company plans to enter with the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015,” said Ford ASEAN President Peter Fleet.

Initial capacity is 150,000 vehicles a year, starting next month with production of the Ford Focus compact car. But Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, said the facility will enable Ford to meet its goal of adding eight all-new global Ford vehicles to the ASEAN region by 2015 and launch 50 new vehicles and powertrains in Asia-Pacific and Africa by mid-decade.

With the opening, Ford now ranks as the largest U.S. automaker in Thailand with more than 4.6 billion invested. Total manufacturing capacity has jumped to 445,000 vehicles a year.

Ford’s AutoAlliance Thailand plant already makes 295,000 Ford Ranger pickups and Fiesta subcompact cars annually, 80 percent of which are exported.