Citing weak demand, Ford announced it was withdrawing from Phase II of the Thai government's Eco-Car programme, according to local reports.

In 2014 the US automaker applied for tax free privileges on THB18.2bn (US$560m) of planned investment in Rayong Province by Ford Thailand Manufacturing Company. The investment was for a vehicle assembly plant with a planned capacity of 180,000 units per year as well as a new engine assembly plant.

The newly appointed president of Ford ASEAN, and Ford Thailand managing director, Yukontorn Wisadkosin said the automaker would not renew its application for Board of Investment (BoI) privileges for the second phase of the eco car project.

She said that when Ford was looking to join the Eco-Car II programme, the Thai market had just hit a record high (of 1.43m vehicles in 2012). 

Since then the dynamics of the local market have changed significantly, with total vehicle sales falling to a cyclical low of 769,000 units last year. The Thai government is also currently grappling with new policies to promote electric and hybrid vehicle production.

The US automaker has also since withdrawn from Indonesia, a key market in the ASEAN region, as well as from Japan.

Ford currently has two vehicle assembly plants in Thailand with a combined production capacity of 315,000 units per year, both partnerships with Mazda. 

When Phase II of the Eco-Car programme was launched in October 2013, 10 automakers had applied for related BOI privileges for a combined proposed investment of THB139bn and a total targeted output of 1.58m. This was on top of THB100bn pledged under the original Phase I of the Eco-Car programme launched in 2007.