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Ford Motor to Close Philippine Car Assembly Plant By End 2012

By Cris Larano MANILA--The Philippine unit of Ford Motor Co. (F) said Wednesday that its assembly plant in Santa Rosa, a city just south of Manila, will be shut down by the end of 2012 as part of the U.S. car company's restructuring of regional manufacturing operations. "The company studied every possible scenario and opportunity, but we could not make a strong enough business case for future manufacturing," Randy Krieger, Ford Group Philippines' president, told a news conference. Ford returned to the Philippines in 1998 after closing its operations in the 1980s. It has invested around $270 million in the Santa Rosa plant, which now employs 360 people and can produce 36,000 cars annually. The last Ford Escape will roll out of the plant later this year, bringing to a close the only volume export of vehicles from the Philippines. It started to ship completely built-up units in September 2002 and has since exported more than 80,000 vehicles worth over $1 billion to markets such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Ford vehicles will continue to be available in the Philippines, albeit imported from other facilities in Asia. The company plans to double the size of its current dealership network by 2015. Write to Cris Larano at cris.larano@dowjones.com

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