Even if auto sales in China and Europe are struggling, the Southeast Asia market is blooming.
Ford reported car sales in the ASEAN region (Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia), up 20%, which represents more than double its sales in the US and China in July. Thailand managed to quickly recover from last year’s natural disasters and increased more than 40% from 2011. Ford recently celebrated its 350 millionth vehicle produced in the company’s 109-year history. The 350 millionth Ford Focus was manufactured at the Rayong plant.
Although ASEAN is still a small market in the global industry, compared to China and the US, it is quickly growing and Ford expects increasing sales here in the following years, targeting 5 million units sold by 2020. Ford also believes that wages in the ASEAN region will increase with 8%-14% in the following 5 years, compared to 2% in the US. The automaker expects its 1,200 employees at the Rayong plant to be able to buy their own cars in the near future, and not travel by bus anymore.
“It’s usually a 10- to 15-year journey before employees can afford what they make,” in the developing world, said John Fleming, the company’s executive vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs.