Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is making two multi-million dollar investments in major export hubs in Africa and Asia as part of an ongoing effort to boost its presence in quickly-growing emerging markets, according to a WSJ report this week.
Ford announced that it would be spending $450 million to build a new passenger car plant in Thaialnd on Thursday. The plant is expected to provide a shot in the arm for the Thai auto industry and provide help to an economic that has been set back by political turmoil for the last several months.
Ford is also expected to increase its production capacity at a South Africa plant which will allow the company to build more Ford Ranger trucks to export to Europe and other global markets. A Ford executive told the WSJ that the company will likely not import the global version of the Range into the United States.
“Frankly we’re maxed out. We have more sales potential than we can build,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president for Asia-Pacific and Africa, about the company’s Ranger production. “The next generation Ranger will be also built in South Africa and will be a great opportunity for us to expand our capacity for Ranger globally.”
The investments come on the heels of a strong first and second quarter from Ford. Ford announced a $2 billion net income during the first quarter, yet the company faces a number of challenges including struggling automotive sales in the west as well as $31.3 billion worth of debt.
Many see Ford as a late come to Asia, especially China, in which recently became the largest world market for automotive sales. Ford has been working to expand its efforts in Asia during the last year, including a new small car plant in India which helped double its capacity in the country. Ford has also announced a new assembly plant in China for its Focus compact car.