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Old 10-13-2003, 08:41   #1 (permalink)
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S.E.Asia:Ford and Mazda to spend $500 million to expand Thai plant

Autos Insider
By Anuchit Nguyen / Bloomberg News

BANGKOK -- Ford Motor Co. and its affiliate Mazda Motor Corp. plan to spend $500 million to expand production at their auto plant in Thailand by almost half.

AutoAlliance Thailand Ltd., a venture between Ford and Mazda, will increase production capacity for pickup trucks and other cars to 200,000 units in the next three years from 135,000 units, Ford said Monday in a statement distributed to reporters at the Government House.

Ford joins Toyota Motor Co.p., Isuzu Motors Ltd. and other overseas automakers that are increasing production in Thailand as domestic sales and exports surge. Production of cars, pickup trucks and other vehicles will probably rise 25 percent to a record 730,000 units in Thailand this year, according to the Thai Automotive Club, a trade group that includes most automakers in the Southeast Asian country.

"We recognize that a strong supply base in Thailand is critical to the long-term growth and sustainability of our business," Chief Executive Office William Clay Ford Jr. said in the statement.

Ford officials today met Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to inform the government of their investment plans in Thailand.

AutoAlliance, whose plant is located in the industrial town of Rayong, 200 kilometers east of Bangkok, makes Ford's Ranger pickup truck and Mazda's Fighter model.
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