Ford has pumped a claimed $US900 million ($A1.25 billion) into its Thailand manufacturing operations to support production of the new Ranger and as-yet unseen new Everest.
It’s billed as Ford’s biggest investment in the region in its 25-year history there, and will make what the company claims to be better-quality vehicles.
“Due to be launched in mid-2022, the next-gen Ranger – the smartest, most versatile and capable Ranger yet – will benefit from the advanced technologies and modernised systems in place,” the company said.
“[The plant] will also be the lead production hub for the upcoming next-gen Everest SUV, utilising the extensive upgrades on offer,” it added.
The investment brings Ford’s Thai plants into line with today’s efficiency, flexibility, and quality processes, citing “extensive upgrades and new state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies and accompanying training” for employees and suppliers alike.
Higher output demand means the company has added another shift, adding 1250 new job positions, and taking the total workforce there to 9000.
The company says it’s almost doubling the number of robots, with the addition of 356 automated arms at the body shop and paint shop. This brings the level of automation at the body shops from 34 per cent to as high as 80 per cent.
“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,” the company added.
Ford says it will also become the first auto manufacturer in Southeast Asia to use ScanBox technology which problem-solves during assembly.
Ford also has increased its production flexibility in terms of body styles, meaning more flexibility in planning and scheduling so the plant can react more quickly to customer demand.
The company is also claiming to have made significant efforts to support environmentally friendly initiatives, including using renewable energy and practicing zero waste to landfill.
The Blue Oval also says it has tipped around around $400 million ($A560m) into the local parts supply chain network, creating a claimed 250 incremental jobs.
“This is an important milestone to build on our quarter-century of commitment to producing vehicles Thailand, enabling us to further modernise and upgrade our local operations,” said Ford ASEAN and Asia Pacific Distributors Markets president Yukontorn ‘Vickie’ Wisadkosin.
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