Ford invests USD900M in Thailand to build next-gen Ranger
U.S. automaker Ford Motor Company will invest THB28 billion (USD900 million) in new technologies and systems to modernize its Thailand manufacturing operations to support the production of its next-gen Ranger pickup truck and Everest sports utility vehicle (SUV).
The investment, which is Ford’s largest single outlay in Thailand, brings Ford’s cumulative investments in Thailand to more than THB100 billion (USD3.4 billion) over 25 years. The modernization program bolsters Thailand’s role as a global production and export base for Ford, through its wholly-owned Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM) and joint-venture AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) truck plant.
“This is an important milestone to build on our quarter-century of commitment to producing vehicles in Thailand, enabling us to further modernize and upgrade our local operations, and support production for the exciting upcoming launch of the next-gen Ranger, one of Ford’s highest volume and most successful vehicles anywhere in the world, and the next-gen Everest SUV,” said Yukontorn ‘Vickie’ Wisadkosin, president, Ford ASEAN and Asia Pacific Distributors Markets.
The investment underscores Ford’s ongoing commitment to deliver world-class quality vehicles to customers in Thailand and around the world, while driving opportunities for local industry growth.
The addition of a second shift at Ford Thailand Manufacturing adds up to 1,250 incremental jobs, increasing Ford’s local workforce to more than 9,000 employees.
Ford also provided opportunities for its local supply chain partners with more than THB13 billion (USD400 million) invested in the supply chain network to localize and enhance the quality of vehicle parts and design-related tools, creating approximately 250 incremental jobs.
Ford is modernizing auto plants everywhere
The overall investment brings Ford’s manufacturing facilities in Thailand in line with the latest global efficiency, flexibility, and quality processes, through extensive upgrades and new state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies and accompanying training for Ford employees and suppliers.
“This investment is a key enabler to help us deliver Ford+, our company strategy to help us deliver must-have, world class quality vehicles that our customers love,” said Andrea Cavallaro, operations director, International Markets Group and South America, Ford.
The company is almost doubling the number of robots at both FTM and AAT, with the addition of 356 state-of-the-art robots at the body shop and paint shop. This brings the level of automation at the body shop at FTM and AAT from 34% to 80% and 69%, respectively. Ford’s manufacturing workforce will work seamlessly with high tech equipment and tools to enhance manufacturing efficiency and quality and continue to improve overall customer satisfaction.
As part of the investment, Ford is the first auto manufacturer to implement ScanBox technology in Southeast Asia. This latest surface scan capability improves the time used to accurately measure the whole vehicle by five times during the assembly process, helping Ford to increase efficiency in problem solving for better quality control.
Ford also has increased its production capability for multi-variant truck production in FTM. By increasing model flexibility, the plant can produce multiple cab styles — single cab, open cab and double cab — on the same production line. This allows more flexibility in planning and scheduling so the plant can react more quickly to customer demand and reduce customer waiting time for a new vehicle.
In addition, FTM and AAT are making significant efforts to support environmentally friendly initiatives, including using renewable energy, reducing CO2 emissions, and practicing zero waste to landfill.
“It is fundamental to our company values that we continue to lead the way in reducing the impact our plants have on the environment. We are committed to long-term sustainability and delivering environmental initiatives that are good for people, good for the planet, and good for Ford,” said Cavallaro.
Next-gen Ranger and Ford Everest SUV
Ranger and Everest are Ford’s most successful vehicles in Thailand, and the company continues to improve its offering with the recently revealed Thai-built next-gen Ranger. Built at both FTM and AAT, and due to be launched in mid-2022, the next-gen Ranger will benefit from the advanced technologies and modernized systems in place.
Exporting vehicles is a significant part of Ford Thailand’s manufacturing business, with Ford Ranger sold in more than 180 markets around the world, as well as holding the title of the best-selling truck in a number of countries across Asia Pacific. AAT will also be the lead production hub for the upcoming next-gen Everest SUV, utilizing the extensive upgrades on offer.
“We are proud of our 25 years of heritage in Thailand, and as we look ahead to the next 25, we remain relentlessly focused on delighting our customers with products and services they love,” Wisadkosin said. “Today’s investment announcement is a key part of Ford’s exciting journey in Thailand. We are all so pumped about producing the next-gen Ranger and Everest, as well as continuing to revolutionize the market every time we launch new products and services.”