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Ford beefs up workforce


STA. ROSA, LAGUNA - Ford Philippines is gearing up for the start of its second shift operations at its world-class Sta. Rosa, Laguna plant in the third quarter of this year as its New Car Program goes into full swing.

In anticipation of increasing production volumes, Ford Philippines is set to employ an additional 400 people to beef up its workforce. With the new hires, Ford's employee count will reach 1,200.

"We are happy to announce this new development as this means more jobs for Filipinos. This aggressive hiring program is part of the $50 million investment for the expansion of Ford Philippines under the New Car Program committed by our Chairman and CEO Bill Ford during his visit to the Philippines in 2003," said Henry Co, President of Ford Group Philippines.

"During his first visit to the Philippines, Bill Ford was impressed with the level of competence and professionalism of the local workforce. One of the added perks of the $50 million investment was its translation to additional jobs, which in turn, should help our local economy," Co added.

The additional manpower also brings the plant's capacity to 36,000 vehicles per year.

New Car Program

The push in Ford's export volumes comes from the expansion of its export program, which includes the New Car Program. The New Car Program paved the way for Ford Philippines to be the manufacturing hub of the Mazda3 and the Ford Focus for the ASEAN region. These two vehicles are part of the line-up of vehicles exported to Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

Ford is set to roll-out the much-awaited all new Ford Focus for the Asean region, following its preview last April. The event coincided with the roll-off of the 30,000th vehicle unit for export, graced by no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Ford Focus has been successfully launched in Europe, Taiwan and South Africa and Ford expects the same success for the ASEAN region.

"The tremendous growth that we are experiencing is definitely good news not only to Ford but also to the auto industry, the Philippine economy, our local suppliers and partsmakers, and the new employees who will have the opportunity to be part of the Ford family," said Co. "We are proud to show the rest of the world the capability of the Filipino to build world-class vehicles, and the not-so remote possible of turning the country into an important vehicle manufacturing hub in the region."

The recent growth enjoyed by Ford will also impact the local parts makers it currently works with as this translates to substantial increases in volume demand of automotive parts from its local suppliers.
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