When Ford launched the all-new Ranger last month, it caught everybody’s attention. Looking more aggressive and high-tech than its predecessor, the 2022 Ranger is expected to be one of the most cutting-edge pick-up trucks once it’s officially launched in markets all around the world.
But before sales can begin, the factories that make the Ranger need to be upgraded first. The Blue Oval announced it has invested USD 900 million (or PHP 45.1 billion) for the modernization of its Thailand manufacturing operations, technologies, and systems. The huge investment is part of the Ford+ plan for growth and value creation which is aimed at the production of the next-gen Ranger and even the upcoming Everest SUV.
The investment, which is Ford’s largest single outlay in Thailand, brings the company’s cumulative investment to more than USD 3.4 billion (or PHP 170.8 billion) in over 25 years. The modernization program bolsters Thailand’s role as a global production and export base for Ford through its wholly-owned Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM) and joint-venture AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) truck plant.
As part of the investment, Ford will be the first manufacturer in Southeast Asia to use ScanBox technology. This will allow the company to accurately measure the entire vehicle by five times during the assembly process - helping Ford increase efficiency in problem-solving for better quality control.
Ford is also almost doubling the number of robots at both the FTM and AAT facilities with 356 new state-of-the-art robots at the body shop and paint shop. This brings the level of automation at the body shop of FTM and AAT from 34% to 80% and 69%, respectively.
The multi-million investment will also allow Ford to increase capacity for multiple truck production in FTM. By increasing model flexibility, the plant can produce multiple cab styles - single cab, open cab, and double cab - all in the same production line. As a result, this will allow more flexibility in planning and scheduling. The plant can also react more quickly to customer demand and reduce waiting time for a new vehicle.
FTM and AAT are also making significant efforts to support environmentally friendly initiatives. These include using renewable energy, reducing CO2 emissions, and practicing zero waste to landfill. Last but not least, the investment has allowed Ford to add 1,250 new jobs and a second shift at FTM. This brings the total workforce in Thailand to more than 9,000 active employees.
“It is fundamental to our company values that we continue to lead the way in reducing the impact our plants have on the environment. We are committed to long-term sustainability and delivering environmental initiatives that are good for people, good for the planet, and good for Ford,” said Andrea Cavallaro, Operations Director at Ford, International Markets Group and South America.
With the investment at Ford Thailand’s FTM and AAT facilities secured, production of both the 2022 and Ranger and Everest is due to begin soon. Here’s to hoping Ford can bring both the all-new pick-up and SUV sometime next year.