Joint venture builds car plant

Mazda and Ford plan to build a new passenger car plant in Thailand to produce both companies’ small passenger cars.


Mazda and Ford plan to build a new passenger car plant at AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) – their joint venture manufacturing plant – to produce both companies’ small passenger cars.


Mazda and Ford’s small car production will commence at the new plant in 2009. The total initial investment of more than $500m for the new plant construction is expected to be split evenly between Mazda and Ford.


The new AAT passenger car plant will be built on the same site as an existing pickup truck plant. To maximise manufacturing efficiency, the new plant will feature an integrated production line from stamping through to final assembly.


In addition, a three layer wet paint system – invented by Mazda – will be introduced as a space-saving measure and the completely refurbished paint shop facility will be used for painting pickups and passenger cars. The three wet paint system reduces VOC and CO2 emissions and waste, and improves paint quality.


The new passenger car plant will incorporate Mazda’s production methods into each stage of the production process, and it will be able to accommodate assembly of passenger cars ranging from the small cars up to midsize vehicles.


The new plant’s production capacity is projected to be 100,000 units per year. Combined with the annual output from the pickup plant, AAT’s production capacity will expand to 275,000 units from its current 175,000 units annually. Mazda plans to sell its AAT-manufactured small car in Thailand in addition to exporting it to other markets.


‘The construction of the new passenger car plant at AAT is one of the major strategic moves we are making to raise global retail sales to 1.6 million units,’ said Hisakazu Imaki, Representative Director, Chairman of the Board and President of Mazda.


AAT currently purchases roughly 90 percent of its components from Thai-based suppliers as part of its contributions to the local economy, and the new plant construction will create an increase in local parts sourcing. AAT anticipates hiring an additional 2,000 employees by the time the new plant’s production commences which will result in the creation of approximately 8,000 total jobs, including indirect jobs at suppliers and related enterprises.