Ford Motor Co. said on June 24 it would spend $450 million to build a new plant in Thailand, giving a much-needed boost to an economy reeling from deadly political unrest.
Ford said the factory in Rayong, about 90 miles southeast of Bangkok, would employ up to 2,200 workers with production scheduled to begin in 2012, starting with the next-generation Ford Focus.
It will have an initial output capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year, mostly for export, boosting Thailand's efforts to be a regional hub for car production.
The move "is another important step in our aggressive expansion in the Asia Pacific region," said Ford chief executive Alan Mulally.
The Thai economy, in particular its vital tourism sector, has seen its growth stunted by two months of anti-government protests in Bangkok that paralyzed parts of the capital and scared away foreign visitors.
The mass rally by the "Red Shirt" movement, seeking immediate elections, sparked outbreaks of violence that left 90 people dead, mostly civilians, and nearly 1,900 injured.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010