BANGKOK, Thailand — Ford is set to go further than ever before in ASEAN, carrying the momentum from record-breaking sales in 2011 and an ambitious growth plan driven by new vehicle launches and the ongoing expansion of dealership networks, said Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president, global marketing, sales and service.
Speaking at an all employee Town Hall meeting in Bangkok last Friday, Farley confirmed Thailand’s position as Ford’s fastest growing market in terms of sales globally, as well as being one of Ford’s most important global manufacturing hubs.
He also explained that Ford’s marketing teams in Asia were increasingly influential within the company, and specifically praised the incredible pre-launch demand that was created for the All-New Ford Ranger.
“There are so many examples, like the hugely successful Ranger pre-launch, where we are now being seen as a true competitor in these markets, and in some cases superior to the Asian brands.”
January retail sales in Thailand reached an all-time monthly high of 3,252 units, up 67 percent year-over-year, continuing Ford’s streak as the fastest growing auto brand in the country during 2011 with 114 percent growth.
Ford plans to open 30 new dealerships in Thailand this year, which will help support the launch of eight all new global One Ford vehicles in ASEAN by mid-decade, starting with the All-New Ford Ranger.
However, Farley cautioned that the Company should not rest on its recent successes, and that to continue building on the momentum will require every Ford employee to Go Further.
“When you take market share from a competitor, they want it back. Remember that our growth is at their expense,” he explained.
“So I want to challenge our success with a dose of humility. The responsibility of being the best is always going further than others do… and we have to be focused on delivering beyond expectations.”
The Town Hall was also an opportunity to introduce Felix Guillen, Ford’s new executive director for manufacturing, APA, who will be based in Bangkok and will oversee Ford’s ASEAN manufacturing operations.
“I don’t think there is anything in the Ford world of manufacturing that Felix doesn’t know – he is a great asset to the team,” said Peter Fleet, president of Ford ASEAN.
With 38 years of experience at Ford in the US, Mexico and South America, Guillen is regarded as one of the best auto manufacturing professionals in the world, said Fleet.
“We are in the process of implementing the global Ford Production System, bringing the best manufacturing system in the world to Ford’s Asia operations,” said Guillen, adding that a manufacturing centre of excellence will be developed at the new $450 million Ford Thailand Manufacturing plant in Rayong that will go online this year.
Before the Town Hall, Farley paid a special visit to the Ford Ek Silom dealership in central Bangkok to personally hand the keys to the 30,000th Fiesta customer in Thailand, Ms. Duanjai Nimcharoen.
The 33-year-old accountant told Farley that she decided to buy her very first vehicle after seeing the Fiesta TVC, and that before taking the plunge, she sought and received the approval of her father, who gave it based on the All-New Fiesta’s reputation for safety.
Before departing Ford Ek Silom, Farley signed a photo of the ceremony that was printed out on site by the dealer, writing “thank you” to a thrilled Duanjai for choosing Ford and Fiesta.