BANGKOK, Thailand — Alan Mulally received a rapturous welcome from audiences at various events during his first-ever visit to Thailand as president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, as he used each opportunity to reinforce the importance of Thailand and its critical role in the region's growth strategy under the One Ford plan.
After touring the new USD 450 million state-of-the-art and highly-flexible Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM) facility in Rayong – which will come online next year – Mulally was greeted with a standing ovation from 600-plus new FTM employees to kick-off a town hall in the new plant's cafeteria.
During the engaging town hall, a number of the FTM employees had an opportunity to ask Ford's global boss various questions about One Ford, about Ford in Thailand and about Ford's overall progress in the Asia Pacific and Africa (APA) region.
Mulally provided a detailed update on progress with the One Ford plan, and spoke of his enthusiasm for the Thailand operations, which he emphasised were absolutely critical to delivering on the ASEAN Better Plan, as well as the overall growth for the APA region.
Later that morning, Mulally presided over the start of Thailand production for the All-New Ford Ranger at AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT), located just down the road from FTM in Rayong.
Sharing the stage during the Job 1 media event with Joe Hinrichs, president, Ford APA, and Peter Fleet, president, Ford ASEAN, Mulally reiterated the importance of meeting the needs of customers by providing them with a full family of cars, utilities and trucks which are best-in-class quality, fuel efficient, safe, smart, and represent great value.
Mulally hosted another town hall meeting in the Thai capital the following day – this time with roughly 400 Bangkok-based employees from Ford's corporate offices, who were thrilled with the opportunity to ask about a whole range of issues.
From the business outlook of Ford, to Mulally's proudest moment working with the company, the questions were both personal and professionally insightful. One excited employee, with the first of his two questions, simply asked if he could have his photo taken with Mulally. Without hesitation, up on stage he was invited.
One of the more high-profile events during the visit was an American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) monthly luncheon, which attracted more than 400 executives to the Grand Hyatt Erawan ballroom – roughly four-times the normal turnout – where he again reiterated the progress that has been made under the One Ford plan.
Mulally, who told the AMCHAM crowd that he 'loves talking business with businesspeople', explained that Ford had already repaid roughly USD 20 billion of its USD 23.5 billion 'home improvement loan', and the company was getting closer to regaining its investment grade status.
He also discussed the current economic challenges around the world, and how Ford was ready to continue growing through a compelling One Ford vision, comprehensive strategy and relentless implementation.
Mulally was also given an audience with new Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, during which he discussed the strategic importance of Thailand to Ford's overall growth plan. He also used the opportunity to reiterate Ford's long-term commitment to the local market, as evidenced by the USD 2.5 billion it has already invested in the country, making Ford the second largest automotive investor in Thailand.
The Thailand segment of Mulally's Asia swing started with his surprise appearance at a gala dinner during an historic meeting of 120 Ford dealer principals from across Southeast Asia and Japan, who had come to Thailand to discuss Ford's exciting ASEAN Better Plan.
|Following an exciting townhall in Rayong, FTM employees joined Ford executives outside the plant.
||Ford executives pose with FTM's Operating Committee Members.
||Media scramble to get a shot of the All-New Ford Ranger during the Job 1 ceremony in Rayong, Thailand on September 28.|
|Ford executives with the All-New Ford Ranger.
||Mulally meets employees at FTM.
||Mulally is warmly greeted by AAT employees ahead of the All-New Ranger Job 1 ceremony.|
|When Mulally opened up the floor to questions during the townhall in Bangkok,Chaorat Preeyapanich, Account Receivable Analyst, Ford Thailand,asked if he could come on stage to take a photo with him. Mulally was happy to oblige, much to the delight of the crowd.
||Excited empolyees pose for photos with Mulally following the town hall in Bangkok on September 29.
||Mulally speaks with AMCHAM members on September 29|