Things look good for the Detroit of the East, a nickname given to our neighbour Thailand. New models are on the way, more factories are being built and figures are up. Now Bangkok Post reports that Ford has committed to buy nearly $2 billion or 60 billion baht worth of locally made parts per year, once its new plant in Rayong starts operating next year.

This is a separate factory from the AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) Rayong plant, in which Ford and Mazda are equal partners. The 60b figure includes purchases by AAT, which rolls out the current Ford Ranger, Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2.

In a statement that will make its host happy, the US brand said its expansion in Thailand would create 33,000 local jobs. Of this total, 8,500 will be directly employed by Ford and 25,000 indirectly through Ford’s suppliers and dealers. The company is the second largest automotive investor in Thailand, with $2.5 billion brought in to date.

Allan Mulally, president and CEO of FoMoCo, reiterated that Thailand was a critical component of Ford’s Asia strategy. Our region is expected to account for 40% of global auto industry growth over the next five to seven years, and Thailand is now the world’s 12th largest auto producer in terms of volume, but is expected to get into the top 10 by 2014.

Mulally was in the Land of Smiles to grace the Job 1 Ceremony or start of production of the new Ford Ranger pickup truck. Thailand will be one of three global production and export hubs for the Ranger, the others being South Africa and Argentina.

It looks good, and it’s scheduled to reach Malaysia next year – read our preview of the new Ranger here and view the gallery from the Bangkok Motor Show here.