Artists impression of the new car plant in Rayong

Artist's impression of the new car plant in Rayong

Ford has completed construction of its new 150,000 unit plant in Rayong, Thailand, raising its annual production capacity in the country to 445,000 units.

The new flexible plant, which cost US$450m can assemble six different car models at the same time. It will soon start producing the Focus for sale across the ASEAN region, Australia and New Zealand, replacing cars currently shipped from Europe - some previous generation models also came from South Africa.

Ford last month announced a further investment of about $27m to lift pickup truck production capacity at its AutoAlliance (Thailand) joint venture with Mazda by 20,000 units/year.

The new Rayong car plant is part of its strategy of expanding its footprint in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa, where eight new plants are to be built by 2015. Sales in these two regions accounted for 7.5% of Ford’s first quarter global revenues but the company aims to raise this to a third by 2020.