AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT), the light pickup truck-building Mazda-Ford joint venture, has now made a million units since production started in 1998.

AAT was established in November 1995 to produce pickup trucks for both domestic and international export markets and the plant's key products are the Mazda BT-50 (nee B-series, but different from the US model) and Ford Ranger (again, not the US version) one tonne trucks.

Thailand was chosen because pickup trucks dominate the market and the country has since become a key export production base for these vehicles, with Mitsubishi and Toyota plants as well.

Just how automakers identify a milestone vehicle when the model line is produced simultaneously at multiple plants is one of the mysteries of life. In this case, Mazda and Ford decided to nominate one vehicle each as joint 'millionth units'.

The plant will produce 175,000 vehicles this year including knock-down (KD) kits for assembly elsewhere. It buys components worth $US1.72bn each year from 177 suppliers - 166 of whom are Thai.