Ford Aims Indonesia to Boost Asia Output image

Ford wants to make Indonesia its production center to meet strong demand for cars in Southeast Asia.

Thailand will remain Ford’s regional manufacturing hub for the foreseeable future, where the company opened a $450 million plant today, May 3rd. More than 90% of Ford’s production for the 10 countries belonging to the Association of South East Asian Nations is in Thailand.

“Everyone in Thailand is trying to operate at maximum capacity and beyond now because the demand in Thailand and across ASEAN for products is very high. All of the markets are running strong,” Ford ASEAN President Peter Fleet told reporters in Bangkok.

Many automakers plan to make Indonesia an alternative production base and Ford is considering its options here, saying that the country has great potential and brought Ford important sale rise in 2011 with the Fiesta. But due to the lack of an established supply base, Thailand remains Ford’s focus for now.

“The Thai market is still slightly larger than Indonesia, although we expect the Indonesian market to be bigger than the Thai market shortly,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.