During the Ford Focus launch this March, we got a chance to talk to Joe Hinrichs (Ford Asia Pacific and Africa President), Peter Fleet (Ford ASEAN President) and Randy Krieger (Ford Group Philippines President), and they were still deliberating the future of the FGP plant. Well, now it's official: it will cease production operations.
Ford's Santa Rosa Laguna facility has been the assembly point for the Ford Focus, the Mazda3, the Ford Escape and the Mazda Tribute.
However, an automotive version of musical chairs took place. The production of the all new Focus shifted to Thailand, the Mazda3 is now being imported from Japan and the replacement of the Tribute, the CX-5, is also being sourced from Japan. With the long production run of the Ford Escape being at its end, FGP's plant was sadly left without a model to make after the music stopped.
Manufacturing in Thailand has really taken off, even in the wake (literally) of the floods that gutted the country late last year. As stated, the Focus found a new manufacturing home there, along with the Fiesta, the Mazda2, the all-new Ranger and the Everest.
Made in the Phils since 1999
Ford Motor Company Philippines' plant in Santa Rosa opened in 1999, covers an area of 53 acres. It has produced the 1999-2003 Ford Lynx, the 2000-2006 Ford Ranger, the 2002-current Ford Escape, the 2003-2012 Ford Focus, the 2004-2009 Mazda Tribute, and the 2004-2011 Mazda3.
The plant will cease production by the end of the year.
"This is a very difficult decision. The company studied every possible scenario and opportunity, but we could not make a strong enough business case for future manufacturing,” said Randy Krieger, Ford Group Philippines president.
"We are extremely proud of the world-class vehicles assembled in our Santa Rosa plant and our exceptional team, and we will provide them with all the support they need to help them through this transition," explained Krieger.
The closure of the plant leaves Ford Group Philippines with a fully imported CBU line up. From the U.S. comes the Expedition, E-150 and Explorer. From Thailand comes the Ranger, Everest, Fiesta, and upcoming Focus.
Mazda's line up is likewise also entirely comprised of CBUs since the previous gen Mazda3. From Hiroshima, Japan we will get the Mazda3, Mazda6, CX-5, CX-7, and CX-9, while Thailand manufacturers the Mazda2.
Commitment to the Philippines
Ford is poised for continued growth in the Philippines, supported by the introduction of eight all-new One Ford vehicles by mid-decade, including all-new Ranger and all-new Focus, as well as the Ford Mustang this year. The company is also planning the continued expansion of its dealer network which will include opening 12 new dealerships this year and doubling the network by 2015.
"We are absolutely committed to an aggressive growth strategy through our national sales company, Ford Group Philippines, which will continue to support our marketing, sales and service operations moving forward," added Krieger.