Ford and Mazda buddy up and invest US$350 Million in Thailand plant for new pickup trucks

Longtime partners Ford Motor Co. and Mazda plan to invest US$350 million in their AutoAlliance (AAT) plant in Thailand to support the production of the next generation of the Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series compact pickup trucks, which are scheduled to be launched in the middle of 2011. The investment will go to plant upgrades and supplier tooling.

"This new investment in AAT reinforces Ford Motor Company's long-term commitment to Thailand as a strategic manufacturing base for our global operations," said Joe Hinrichs, President of Ford Motor Company, Asia Pacific and Africa.

"The new investment means that AAT will continue to be a global center of excellence for the production of both brands' compact pickup trucks, and play an important role in Mazda's global strategy," said Masaharu Yamaki, Mazda's representative director, executive vice president, assistant to the president, with oversight of R&D, Production, Purchasing and Quality [yes, that's his official job title...]

The joint venture in Thailand was set up in 1995 and aside from the two pickup trucks, the alliance also builds the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 superminis for the domestic market as well as for export to ASEAN and other markets such as Australia.

*All photos are of the current generation Ford Ranger