“Ford’s latest investment move illustrates that emerging markets opportunities aren’t just about the big markets of the BRICs,” editor Dave Leggett said in his editor’s weekly update email of Ford’s announcement last week it would invest in a new Thailand plant with around 150K annual capacity; manufacture of the Focus for domestic sale and export to markets like Australia (under a free trade agreement) and New Zealand is being planned from 2012.

“Indeed, the ASEAN region of south-east Asia is continuing to show very positive auto industry growth prospects.”

And so it is – just today we learned of more inward investment in Asia. Nissan is doubling Indonesian capacity, mostly for the domestic market as things aren’t quite right for exports.

And, outside our area of interest, Honda said it would add another half million units of capacity to take its Vietnamese motorcycle output to 2m.

As our in-house sage noted, “Get ’em first with your two-wheelers and, hopefully, they’ll be back for a four-wheeler”. In Vietnam that takes serious money but who’s to say the auto market, currently supplied by a restricted, largely CKD, operation, won’t be stimulated one day as low incomes slowly improved. It’s happening in China and India.