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Ford (F) to Invest $900M for Revamping Thai Auto Plants

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Ford F recently announced its decision to invest $900 million (THB 28 billion) for the revamp of its manufacturing facilities in Thailand. This marks the auto biggie’s largest-ever single investment in the country and brings its total investments in Thailand to more than $3.4 billion (THB 100 billion) over 25 years.

Part of the Ford+ plan for growth and value creation, the cash outlay is aimed at investing in new state-of-the-art technologies and systems. It will also support the production of the next-gen Ranger pickup truck (one of Ford’s highest volume and most successful vehicles) and the next-gen Everest SUV. The modernization program will be implemented through Ford’s wholly-owned Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM) and AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) truck plant, its joint venture with Japan’s Mazda Corporation.

The investment marks a historic milestone for Ford and highlights the auto giant’s dedication to producing and delivering superior quality vehicles for customers in Thailand and worldwide.

Thailand is Asia’s fourth-largest auto assembly and export hub, showcasing some of the world’s renowned carmakers such as Toyota and Honda. The auto industry represents roughly 10% of Thailand’s GDP and manufacturing jobs. Further, this up-gradation program fortifies Thailand's pivotal roleas a global production and export base for Ford.

The investment will rev up Ford’s manufacturing facilities in Thailand to be on par with the latest global efficiency, flexibility, and quality standards, via massive rejigs and new innovative manufacturing technologies as well as extensive training for Ford employees and suppliers.

The expansion is anticipated to create roughly 1,250 new jobs at Ford’s plants, bringing its total workforce in Thailand to more than 9,000 employees. Also, more than $400 million (THB 13 billion) of the planned investment will be directed toward the company’s supply-chain network.

The planned investment targets doubling the number of robots at both FTM and AAT along with the installation of 356 modern robots at the body shop and paint shop, thereby boosting the level of automation at the body shop at FTM and AAT from 34% to 80% and 69%, respectively.

Ford will also be the first automaker to implement ScanBox technology in Southeast Asia as part of the investment. This capability will improve the time used to accurately measure the whole vehicle by five times during the assembly process, aiding Ford in bolstering its efficiency for superior quality control. The factory upgrades will allow the automaker to produce multiple cab styles – single cab, open cab and double cab – on the same production line. This will allow the company to cater to customer demand more quickly and reduce customer waiting time for a new vehicle. Further, amid the aggravating climate change concerns, FTM and AAT are both committed to developing more environment-friendly and sustainable means of transportation that use renewable energy, reduce carbon emissions, and practice zero waste to landfill.

Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Auto Companies to Focus On

Better-ranked stocks in the auto space include Tesla TSLA, Harley-Davidson HOG and Goodyear Tire GT, all of which flaunt a Zacks Rank of 1.

Tesla has an expected earnings growth rate of 166.96% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised upward by 6 cents over the last 30 days.
 
Tesla beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters while missing once. TSLA has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 25.38%, on average. Its shares have rallied 76.8% over the past year.

Harley-Davidson has an expected earnings growth rate of 34.92% for the current quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised upward by 2 cents over the last 30 days.
 
Harley-Davidson beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters while missing once. HOG has a trailing four-quarter negative earnings surprise of 138.45%, on average. Its shares have dropped around 4.7% over the past year.

Goodyear has an expected earnings growth rate of 196.86% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised upward by 42 cents over the last 30 days.
 
Goodyear beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in the last four quarters. GT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 228.45%, on average. Its shares have rallied 107% over the past year.


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Ford Motor Company (F) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HarleyDavidson, Inc. (HOG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (GT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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