A joint venture between Ford and Mazda said Tuesday(11/07/00) that exports of vehicles from their Thailand factory increased by more than 17 percent during the first six months of the year over the same period in 1999.

The joint American-Japanese venture, Auto Alliance (Thailand) Co., had a total output of 20,530 vehicles, compared to 17,488 during the first half of last year, a press release said. The 2000 export value was given as 7.6 billion baht (dlrs 195 million).

The Ford Ranger and Mazda Fighter models are exported from an assembly plant in Rayong Province, southeast of Bangkok.

Major export destinations are Australia, New Zealand and countries in Europe and the Mediterranean region. Exports began in 1998.

Thailand is attempting to become the "Detroit of Asia," and has also attracted General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi and BMW.