This latest round of investment is also for the expansion of the Auto Alliance Thailand (AAT) plant located in Rayong, Thailand so that it can produce the next generation of Ford and Mazda compact pickups. According to the press statement, the sum iis used for the research & development, worker training, tooling & retooling and support facilities for the production of the next generation of Ford and Mazda pickup trucks in the region . The plant jointly run by both Ford and Mazda and now produces most notably the Ford Ranger & Mazda Fighter pickups and the Ford Fiesta and its Mazde derivative, the Mazda 2.
AAT, which exports Ford and Mazda vehicles to about 130 markets around the world began operations in 1998 and with this latest investment, brings the total sum invested by Ford and Mazda to a whopping US$1.8billion since the inception of the whole project in 1995.
One has to note that while the investment sum is large, the real strength behind this piece of news is the Thai governmentís (via its Board of Investment) willingness to support the countryís automotive industry. There are bound to be tax-breaks and all sorts of defining factors that have enabled the top people in both Ford and Mazda to arise at a decision to spend more money in Thailand. Imagine what an investment of a few hundred million would do to any countryís GDP in the long run.