Second factory slated for Ford, in Rayong


Second factory slated for Ford, in Rayong

The Ford Motor Company has announced plans to build a second factory in Thailand, this one in Rayong province. The company believes the start of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) at the end of this year will make its task of manufacturing vehicles for the Southeast Asian and overall Asian market that much easier.

Ford is confident of growing demand throughout Asia and will be using this second factory to bring its annual production numbers up to around 300,000 units. That would be double its current output of 150,000 vehicles annually. At present, Ford exports 120,000 of the cars its produces in Thailand, while 30,000 are for the domestic market. Ford currently holds a 4.3 percent stake in the Thai auto marketplace, but is hoping to grow that figure over coming years.

As for the Asean region and Asia in general, Ford sees great opportunities for car manufacturers over the next few years.

The management of Ford has expressed some concern over the sluggish demand in the country, noting that its sales had dropped by 15 percent this year because of reduced purchasing power for the general populace. The company hoped the government would consider some serious stimulus measures aimed at increasing car sales.

However, despite talks with the Industry Minister, Atchaka Sibunruang, there was no indication the government is planning to try anything special for the motor vehicle sector, at this stage. Naturally, the military-installed government is very wary of going down the populist road of its predecessor, so any kind of first car buyer scheme would probably be the furthest thing from their minds.

Mrs Atchaka is quoted as saying that the government wanted to see what kind of impact its various stimulus packages have on the general economy. She is also of the view that if purchasing power for consumers improves sufficiently, then this will have a knock-on effect anyway for the motor vehicle sector, almost certainly leading to greater sales across the board.

Ford has obtained Board of Investment (BoI) clearance for the new factory and construction should be underway early in the new year. The company said it is expecting to spend around 6.5 billion baht on constructing the factory, which will, of course, provide some stimulus for employment in Rayong province, both in the short term with the use of building contractors, and the long term, with employment in the new factory.

The new factory will be concentrating on producing Ford’s most popular models: the Ranger pick-up and the Everest sport utility vehicle. Both of these sell well into the domestic market.