Auto Alliance Thailand, a joint venture between Mazda Motor Corp and Ford Motor Co, have announced that they will be investing US$350 million in its pickup truck plant to prepare for the production of next generation pick-up trucks. This is likely the next generation Ranger/Fighter.

Production of the redesigned pick-up trucks is expected to start sometime mid-2011, according to Ford. The factory will be retooled and upgraded for the production of the pick up trucks. The new investment would mean that since 1995, both companies have invested about US$1.85 billion in the AutoAlliance Thailand facility.

Models produced by the AutoAlliance factory are exported to more than 130 markets around the world. This includes the Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta models, produced at the Rayong plant, exported to other markets including Malaysia (we’ll get it sometime soon). The JV also celebrated 1 million units produced in July 1997.

One question that we have in mind is whether the new Ranger/Fighter will follow the One Ford plan, where Ford will develop global models and then tailor them to different markets via equipment instead of market-specific models. Our current generation Ranger is quite different from the Ranger in the US, which is larger. The next generation Ford Focus is one example of a car that has been ‘unified’ under the One Ford plan.