The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash in on the upward trend.
At the inauguration ceremony, Ngorn Saing, CEO of RMA (Cambodia) Plc, an authorised Ford automobile distributor in Cambodia, noted that the more-than-5ha plant in Pursat’s easternmost Krakor district with capital investment of $21 million would create over 500 jobs and assemble about 9,000 vehicles each year.
He commented that more Cambodians were looking to buy new Ford models as the economy and incomes grow, and that the brand “has become the leading choice of customers in Cambodia”.
“Therefore, the company decided to set up a Ford assembly plant with full rights, to assemble vehicles from the parent company, Ford Motor Co,” he said, adding that the Ranger SUVs and Everest pickup trucks would be assembled “in accordance with Ford standards”.
He said that the company was also working with the Polytechnic Institute of Pursat Province (PIPP) to train staff and improve the technical skills needed to do the job.
“We strongly believe that the Ford assembly plant will contribute to the development of the automotive industry and boost the economy in Cambodia by increasing domestic production in line with international standards in the era of technological globalisation,” Saing said.
He stressed that the company not only provides job opportunities for locals, but also indirectly creates additional jobs, thereby “boosting business momentum”.
Presiding over the inauguration was Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) deputy commander and Royal Cambodian Army (RCA) commander Lieutenant General Hun Manet.
Lieutenant General Manet said the US automotive giant’s selection of Cambodia as its next investment destination has been a confidence booster, adding that the improvement in the people’s living standards and current state of development make the Kingdom a promising option.
“The establishment of a Ford assembly plant in Pursat, Cambodia, now is a source of pride for locals as well as people across the country, as well as a welcome to the presence of heavy and modern industry.”
“This factory is a model of a successful opportunity that will serve as a pioneer and encourage further large-scale investment, especially in the automotive sector in the future,” he said.
He also called on investors to choose Cambodia as an investment destination on the basis of its relatively peaceful environment as well as political and macroeconomic stability.
RMA Cambodia’s Saing agreed that the new plant would act as a magnet for investors across all sectors, and that the new, locally-assembled cars would be a source of pride for Cambodians.
According to him, the domestic automotive industry is dominated by second-hand vehicles, which account for 70-80 per cent of all sales in the Kingdom, a trend which he said has rapidly reversed in the last few years as more Cambodians opt for new models.
Saing revealed that the plant would switch from the CKD (complete knock-down) method to its IKD (incomplete knock-down) alternative, which would allow the introduction of Cambodian-manufactured components into the vehicles.