Ford Motor Company (F.N) is making its largest-ever investment in Thailand by spending $900 million to upgrade the factories that produce the Ranger pickup truck and Everest SUV.
At its Thai manufacturing facility and AutoAlliance Thailand, a joint venture with Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T), the plan calls for nearly doubling the number of robots, with $400 million of the funding going toward its supply chain network.
According to Kamolchanok Prasertsom, director of communications for Thailand and ASEAN Markets, Ford can manufacture about 270,000 vehicles annually in Thailand.
The majority of its pickup trucks are shipped to Asia-Pacific nations like Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Its export market is strong, she said, adding that the percentage is adjusted on a monthly basis if demand rises in the future.
The business will be able to better tailor production of vehicles like open cabs and four-door pickups to match demand thanks to the factory upgrades.
In contrast, this effort to reach 8% global operating margins contrasts with the closure of three of its plants in Brazil this year as part of a $11 billion global restructuring. Additionally, it is ceasing manufacturing in India, where it has long had financial difficulties.
Thailand is the fourth-largest car assembly and export hub in Asia, contributing roughly 10% to its GDP and manufacturing employment.
General Motors (GM.N) sold its Thai factories last year to China's Great Wall Motor, which has started making SUVs there and intends to produce electric cars as well.
Thailand's state-owned energy company PTT Pcl (PTT.BK) has announced that it will partner with Foxconn (2317.TW) to spend $1 billion to $2 billion in an electric vehicle plant.