Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. say their Thai
joint venture will invest more than $500 million in a new small car
It's the largest foreign investment in Thailand since last
The companies say in a statement the investment, which will be
split evenly between Ford and Mazda, will increase the AutoAlliance
Thailand joint venture's annual production capacity to 275,000
vehicles from 175,000.
John Parker, Ford's executive vice-president for the Asia Pacific
and Africa, says the investment reaffirms their commitment to the
Foreign investment suffered in the wake of the September 2006
coup, which ousted Thaksin Shinawatra (TUHK'-sihn SHIHN'-ah-waht) as
Investment has also been hurt by the central bank's capital
controls, imposed last December.
Ford and Mazda will both start production at the plant in 2009
with the low-cost compact cars destined for domestic sales and
export markets in Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.
Thailand is already a major production and export hub for pickup
AutoAlliance Thailand, which has about 3,500 staff, will hire
another 2,000 workers by 2009.
Ford and Mazda estimate another 6,000 jobs will be indirectly
created as a result of their investment.
Through their joint venture, the two companies have already
invested about $1 billion in Thailand's auto manufacturing industry