HE Focus will become Ford Australia’s fourth Asiasourced car following the abandonment of plans to make it in Australia.
The company already gets the Escape off-roader from Taiwan and the Ranger ute out of Thailand.
In the middle of next year the ute will be joined by the Fiesta hatch.
Now, an as yet unnamed Asian plant will be building the nextgeneration global Focus sedan and hatch for local launch in 2011.
‘‘But in terms of the detail and what location in Asia, it is still to be finalised,’’ Ford Australia president Marin Burela said.
A decision is expected within a few months. Thailand is unlikely, despite a $608-million upgrade to the Auto Alliance Thailand jointventure plant at Rayong, southeast of Bangkok.
Earlier this year Ford said that the upgrade would allow AAT to lift its production capacity from 175,000 to 275,000 vehicles a year, building the Mazda2 and
Tthe Fiesta for export markets.
If AAT had the capacity for Focus, Thailand would be an attractive option as Australia enjoys a free-trade agreement and zero tariffs with the Asian country.
Burela backed his decision to cancel local Focus production.
He said the global car industry was different in July 2007, when Ford originally announced that it would build 40,000 Focus models a year at Broadmeadows, with 15,000 exported to Asian and African markets.
Since then the industry has been rocked by the impact of the global financial crisis.
‘‘The economic climate has changed,’’ Burela said.
He indicated that, to have a viable car with the right level of technology, feature, styling and content, Focus couldn’t be built in Australia.
ASIA-BOUND: The Focus joins other Fords leving Australia for Asia