Ford still views Thailand as its most important regional production base

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BANGKOK, Oct  27 – Thai Minister of Industry Chakramon Phasukavanich quoted a top Ford Motors executive as confirming that Thailand remained as its major automotive production base in the region and it would expand its eco-car production here.

The message came from Ford ASEAN president Matt Bradley who met Mr Chakramon today.

Mr Chakramon said Mr Bradley emphasised that Thailand was Ford’s major production base in the region because it closed its plant in the Philippines where Ford Escape vehicles were produced.

The company will invest US$606 million (Bt18 billion) in its expansion here.

In addition, Ford reassured the minister that it would produce environmentally-friendly cars under the Thai government’s eco-car 2 investment incentive scheme.

The minister said that Thailand’s sluggish automotive market had no significant impact on Ford because it annually produced 150,000 vehicles, exported 100,000 and sold only 50,000 here.

Mr Chakramon said that the national economy should satisfactorily grow by 1.5 per cent throughout this year as Thailand would receive increasing orders for Christmas.

Next year the Thai economy should expand by 3.5-4 per cent, which should help improve the local automotive market, he said.