It looked pretty much like any other Ford Focus as it rolled down the maker’s assembly line in the Bangkok suburb of Rayong early Friday morning. But the compact sedan marked a major milestone for the automaker – as the 350 millionth vehicle has produced in its nearly 110-year history.
The event was significant for more than just the raw numbers. The sedan symbolizes the dramatic transformation that has been shaking up Ford as it evolves from a worldwide network of regional fiefdoms into an integrated system producing global products like the Focus.
Equally noteworthy is the fact that the Rayong plant was chosen to mark the occasion. The Asian market has become increasingly important to Ford – and its rivals. The maker will soon operate nine plants in the region – including the newest of six in China for which Ford CEO Alan Mulally helped break ground earlier this week.
“Producing 350 million vehicles is equivalent to producing one vehicle every 10 seconds for our 109-year history. If placed end to end, the vehicles would stretch to the moon and back – twice,” said John Fleming, Ford executive vice president of global manufacturing, in a statement.