Dave Alden  president of Ford Asean and Sales & Service Thailand, has told the Bangkok Post newspaper that integrating and unifying its national Asean business units across southeast Asia is at the core of its growth strategy for the region.

"Ford Asean has integrated its business units (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam) into a cross-functional entity to be able to get the scale that we need to develop the product plans that will move us forward," he said.

"When we look at future product plans, we look at the potential. If we speak with one voice for all these markets, then we have a much stronger business case for developing future products, like our B-car, which we developed based on an Asean look at the industry," Alden said.
Ford takes into consideration the different market needs and product applications on an individual basis. But Alden was referring to the same basic platform and vehicle.

"It's pretty darn similar, product strategies plus any other synergies across the market in how we operate marketing, material parts, distribution, IT and lots of back office synergies."

Along with the Asean strategy is the Ford-Mazda joint venture in Rayong called AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) which makes pickups.

Ford is able to move its vehicles from market to market within Asean and benefit from business opportunities in sales volume are generated in the Asean market.

"We have the opportunity to sell in Asean and use AAT for sourcing either for direct import or CKD operations like we do in Vietnam," Alden told the newspaper.

"If you look at Asia-Pacific, there are three powerhouses. China, India and the third leg of that stool is the Asean countries," he said.

"Ford is in the thick of it. We are planting a lot of seeds with 700 employees in Bangkok at our Asean office, a real commitment with 70-90 expats which is a huge cost, plus AAT. We wouldn't have done that if we weren't serious and you'll see a lot more when the B-car is out in the market."

Thailand is one-ton pick-up territory, while Malaysia is primarily C-segment attributed mainly to its national car programmes.

"The longer term, with the affordability of B- versus C-segment, the B-car will surpass the C-car and be more consistent in all the markets."

Thailand will absorb most of the B-car market and be its major manufacturer.

"It just makes sense for Ford Asean to be here. We can also fully integrate our total plans for China and Australia into Asia Pacific. It's the perfect location."

See also: THAILAND: Ford and Mazda to build second Thai plant