BANGKOK -- Ford Motor Co. said on Friday its Thai factory would produce about 27,000 units of a new sport utility vehicle (SUV) in 2003 and 2004 combined, with about half destined for export.
Ford executives told reporters the U.S. car maker planned to export the seven-seat Everest SUV, launched at a Bangkok motor show this week, to 50 countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa from the second half of this year.
Michael Peace, Ford's manager for Southeast Asia and India, said production of the 2.5-2.6 litre SUV would raise annual vehicle output from the firm's plant in the southeastern Thai province of Rayong to near its 135,000 unit capacity next year.
The plant also produces trucks and passenger cars for Ford's partner Mazda Motor Corp. Ford and Mazda exported about 60,000 light pick-up trucks from Thailand in 2002.
Ford's chief engineer, Chuck Bambenek, said the company spent four years and nearly $100 million designing and launching the Everest model, which is built on a pick-up truck platform.