Ford to invest additional $50M in Philippines


FORD Motor Co. said Tuesday it would invest an additional 50 million dollars in its Philippine manufacturing facility over the next several years as part of its bid to make the country a hub for its Southeast Asian operations.

Bill Ford, chairman and chief executive officer of the automotive giant, pledged fresh investments to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the presidential palace, the company said in a statement.

Details will be announced later, it said.

The 50-million-dollar investment pledge will involve upgrades at its manufacturing facility in Santa Rosa, Laguna, south of Manila, as well as tooling and engineering costs related to new vehicle programs.

"Ford's decision to invest in the Philippines and boost CBU (completely built units) exports is timely, and will align with the Philippine government's Motor Vehicle Development Program (MVDP)," Ford said.

"I wish to thank President (Macapagal) Arroyo for her personal support towards the speedy implementation of new auto policies to address the critical issues identified in the MVDP, including the rationalization of excise tax to value-based structure and the...incentives for CBU exports."

Manila's commitment to progressive policy reforms, he added, "is vital to the survival of the auto industry and provides a sustainable business environment for automotive investors."

He expects Ford's investment to create additional jobs not only at the company's local facilities, but also for its parts and components suppliers.

Ford's Santa Rosa plant, which assembles Ford and Mazda products, has a capacity of about 15,000 units per year, still short of the optimum capacity of 44,000 units, he said.

"The introduction of new vehicle programs and the additional volume from exports are critical to boost production to optimum capacity," he said.

"These actions are expected to double our labor force to almost 1,250 from our present 650 workers."

Ford witnessed the launch of Ford Philippines' three new products, the Ford Everest, Ford Lynx RS 2.0L and the Ford Escape 3.0L.


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