TriMas said today that it had signed an interim deal with Ford to continue the development of a stainless steel rear underbar for the Ford Ranger one-ton pickup truck and Ranger platforms. The deal is part of Ford's Auto Alliance Thailand (AAT) joint venture with Mazda in Thailand.

TriMas said it had signed the deal through its Thai subsidiary TriMotive Asia Pacific.

TriMas said that on completion of the product development, the truck component will be produced at TriMotive's manufacturing facility in Chon Buri, Thailand, and delivered to Ford's AAT assembly plant outside of Bangkok.

From 2009, the underbar will be mounted to the vehicles and then distributed to over 100 countries. The stainless steel component will be the first truck underbar to be produced for Ford by TriMotive Asia Pacific operations.

"Our production facility in Thailand has not only increased our global presence in the Pacific Rim," said Edward Schwartz, TriMas executive vice president, "but it has also allowed us access to one of the largest truck manufacturing operations in the world outside of North America."

"We are particularly excited to be working with Ford in Thailand," Schwartz continued. "Although we do supply Ford in other markets, this will be the first time we will be manufacturing truck accessories for them in Asia. It has provided us with an entry point for ongoing and new model business, as well as a reach into multiple markets."