By on August 19, 2014

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Nikon cameras, condoms and the Mitsubishi Mirage are the only three products that come to mind when I think of “Made in Thailand”, but starting in 2017, we’ll have another to add to that list: the Ford Fiesta.

According to TTAC sources, the next-generation Fiesta will be built at Ford’s Rayong, Thailand assembly plant, and exported to America. Even though the current car is built in Mexico, Ford is apparently not making any money on US-spec Fiestas (instead, they are profiting on Fiesta sedans sent to South America). Moving assembly to an even lower cost assembly location should help Ford increase profitability on their smallest passenger car, which has seen a 7 percent drop in sales year-to-date.

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38 Comments on “Ford Will Build Next-Generation Fiesta In Thailand...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Will Ford still build Fiestas in Mexico for the SA markets, or are those moving to Thailand too?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Just wondering all those on the board who say they would never buy a car made in China feel about this? Is a Thailand Fiesta OK to buy but a China Volvo a no no ??? Will Ford be raising the del fee for these cars ??

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Wouldn’t buy either of them, the Volvo for being chinese, or the fiesta for being 3 sizes too small.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’d buy a vehicle regardless of its location of assembly if its built well, is proven to be reliable, and represents good value (I didn’t say “cheap,” which is something entirely different [see Yugo factory assembled Fiat 500L as reviewed by Jack Baruth]).

      This is not to say Ford isn’t as hypocritical as ANY company (bar none) when it comes to waving the American Flag in their NA promotional pitches, as they chase labor rates to the lowest point imaginable, skipping from Mexico, on to Thailand, Vietnam, and who else knows where next (probably Kazakhstan).

      In fact, Ford should just drop the act and build the next gen Ford F Series in Myanmar.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Perhaps Ford can find a country where slave labor is still practiced and move their production over there?

    • 0 avatar
      izzy

      Google Thailand shrimp slavery.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Careful what you wish for. If the Republicans have their way, slavery will be making a comeback in the good ol’ US of Murica in the very near future. Thank you, Jeebus.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I’d like to see the sales pitch presenting the economic viability of using forced labor to perform a task as complex and quality dependent as aut9o assembly…….

        Formal slavery was abandoned because it was no longer a particularly efficient means of production. Not because the people who happened to be nice and white won an epic battle against their bad white cousins. Nor because of Bob Dylan. Nor Hope and Change. Nor dykes in Subarus. Nor highschool sophmores rebelling by saying mean things about Cheney. But simply because those with the power to decide, realized they could better value for their money by obtaining labor by other means. Even Marx figured that one out, and he was hardly the sharpest tool in the economic toolbox.

        Now, informally, if you define slavery as involuntary expropriation of someone’s economic input, a good case can be made that the 50% or so of people’s output the Republicans and Democrats take turns confiscating for their own pleasure and self aggrandizement, is quite a bit more than your average Southern plantation owner managed to get his hands on, but that may not be sufficiently PC to sit well with skinny jeans at Revolution Cafe.

        • 0 avatar
          skor

          Huh? More than a plantation owner? Let me see, except for a shack, rags and food not fit for hogs, your plantation owner heroes confiscated EVERYTHING.

          Now tells us the story about how tens of thousands of blacks were so loyal to their masters they volunteered for the Confederate Army.

          • 0 avatar
            Sceptic

            Great point is that slavery was abandoned for economic reasons not because of the goodness of somebody’s hearts.
            The economic output of slave labor was abysmal, there was very little to “confiscate”.

          • 0 avatar

            If slavery was abandoned for economic reasons, then someone should explain to me the popularity of prison labor (a.k.a “slavery by another name”).

  • avatar
    bosozoku

    Ford cannot turn a profit with production in Mexico, despite NAFTA and direct, reliable rail lines to its biggest market? But Honda has just moved Fit production to Mexico, likewise with Mazda soon opening a new plant south of the border.

    This smacks of something more. Something fishy. Or maybe Ford is ahead of the curve in catching on that US consumers no longer give a damn where their econobox is built, so long as it’s cheap. Once Thailand gentrifies, where to then? Bangladesh? Namibia? Where does the race to the bottom end?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      There is no bottom, it’s all cyclical.

      Long-term, though, low-value goods probably will end up being made in Africa at some point once the industrial infrastructure is built up sufficiently. China has been plowing much of their extra cash into the region.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “But Honda has just moved Fit production to Mexico”

      Ask somenone waiting for a 2015 how that’s working out.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Yep, CR today has a video that mentions that exact problem, seems no matter what they do, Honda can’t seem to be able to produce enough Fit models to satisfy the US market.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      That “bottom” rises. What do you want, for Bangladesh and Namibia to stay the way they are? Isn’t it a good thing they develop an industrial base, with the increasing quality of life that follows?

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        If this were a technical dispute you’d be one of the first to scoff at someone “rewriting the laws of physics”.

        Yet you wish to believe that a people in abject poverty who still breed like bugs will become Norwegians if only they could garner a few thousand industrial jobs.

        Worse, you imply that the rest of us should accept some moral responsibility for people who through no fault of ours are damaged beyond repair by poverty, misogyny and medieval religious oppression.

        I’m callin’ foo on your delusional ’60s humanitarianism.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          People who breed like bugs will inherit the world. While the poor Norwegians only temporarily inherited an oilfield and a pretty, productive coastline.

          Also, religions aren’t oppressive. Only governments are. Some claim to do the bidding of Gods, while others claim The People. Makes no difference either way. It’s still just a government. Hence oppressive.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          “Yet you wish to believe that a people in abject poverty who still breed like bugs will become Norwegians if only they could garner a few thousand industrial jobs.”

          When infant mortality falls and health in general improves the birth rate does indeed go down.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      I think it’s more that Ford can’t sell enough Fiestas in the US to make Mexican production profitable. That capacity is better used making a higher-volume product.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      I wonder what other vehicles will be built by Ford in Thailand?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The Fiesta is already being built in Thailand.

    For some time, Ford’s plan has been to consolidate Fiesta production to a few plants globally, and to use the Mexican facility to produce C-category cars for the US. It is not a response to this year’s sales volumes, and not necessarily an indication that the Fiesta isn’t profitable.

    http://wardsauto.com/plants-amp-production/ford-add-c-car-mix-mexico-fiesta-shifts-thailand

    Reading between the lines, Ford is trying to push its volumes in Asia. Ford is behind the curve in targeting Asian markets, and the Fiesta will presumably a make-or-break product for them in SEA.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    Honda is making mid-sized motorcycles that are getting very positive reviews in Thailand. I’m not worried. I also haven’t eaten myself to a point where I won’t fit in such a car.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      What’s your excuse for those of us who are not the height of a midget?

      • 0 avatar
        Charliej

        These cars work for normal sized people. Fat asses need not apply. Fat heads either.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          Bravo.

          I’ve been trying to extenuate his avatar for a while now but no, he really is channeling Charles Bronson. With a bow in his hair O_o

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I’m significantly larger than average, and I fit in a Fiesta just fine. Fun little car. Why people need feet of wasted space around them in a car is lost on me.

          I could not care less where a car is made. Robots are robots the world over, this is not a handcrafted watch. If the Chinese can make an iPhone or a Thinkpad, they certainly can screw together a car. Or to put it another way, the Chinese will produce to any level of quality that you are willing to pay for, from dime-store to absolutely top shelf.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          I fit pretty well in a Fiesta ST when I went to Ford’s EcoBoost Challenge.

          I’m 6’2″ and at that time 280 pounds.

          Other cars I can fit into – Miata and S2000 (although the footbox in the latter is a bit tight) the one car I cannot fit into is a Chrysler Crossfire.

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    Derek, what is the basis of this statement: “Ford is apparently not making any money on US-spec Fiestas”

    Is that also from your source or something you added?

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Are Thai robots any worse at producing decent cars than Mexican robots?

    My brother has an 05 Mexican-built Sunfire, formerly my mom’s, and maintenance has never been anything other than a mere suggestion. It’s still running strong at 135k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Actually, Thai built cars are more ‘handmade’ than Mexican vehicles.

      Labour costs in Thailand are one third the cost of Korea and cheaper than China.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    It’s not just robots in the assembly of a modern car, there is still a lot of human handling in the process.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Will the driver seat have a Thai massage setting?

    Will the infotainment system come preloaded with Murray Head’s One Night in Bangkok?
    Will the navigation system be voice by Yule Brenner?

  • avatar
    dtremit

    Thailand is also a global center for hard drive production — about 40% of all hard drives were made there in 2012.

    • 0 avatar
      Spike_in_Brisbane

      Thailand Ford builds most of the world’s Rangers and has for years. There is also huge growth in U.S. Standard hospitals and clinics providing services such as cosmetic surgery, dentistry, artificial joints and prostheses for Americans who cannot afford their own services. Thailand is on a fast track forward.

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