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Ford SA forging ahead with global sales – and SA job creation

  • Nine years on, and R11bn has poured into SA plant
  • Production capacity 168 000 vehicles a year
  • More jobs, further SA growth for world sales
ALMOST READY FOR THE ROAD: Ford Raptor units getting close to complete. Image: Ford Motors/ Quickpic
ALMOST READY FOR THE ROAD: Ford Raptor units getting close to complete. Image: Ford Motors/ Quickpic

PRETORIA, Gauteng – Ford Motor Company has invested R11-billion in its South African operations since 2009 with the result that the automaker has reached its highest-yet production capacity for its Ranger and Everest SUVs.

Neale Hill, MD of Ford sub-Saharan , told The Corner: “The past 10 years have transformed Ford’s South African manufacturing, progressing from a low-volume but multi-vehicle business to a high-volume, single platform, Ranger assembly plant supplying 148 markets.

“The Ranger has been the key driver. From the installed capacity of 110 000 Rangers in 2011, we can now assemble 168 000 a year to meet future requirements.”

FORD INVESTMENT: New diesel engines of the way along the Raptor line. Image: Ford Motors / Quickpic
FORD INVESTMENT: New diesel engines of the way along the Raptor line. Image: Ford Motors / Quickpic

Investment in the global export programme started in 2009 with the transformation of the company’s Silverton (Pretoria) and Struandale (Port Elizabeth) plants into a flexible and high-volume single-platform operation for the 2018 Ranger and its Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel engines.

1200 JOBS CREATED

In 2016, the automaker explained, Ford invested in further expansion of Ranger production and then assembly of the big Everest SUV for sub-Sahara markets – they had been produced in Thailand.

Local Everest assembly gave customers a far wider model  choice – from only two to eight and local production contributed to creating 1200 jobs in its SA supply chain.

Hill added: ”Ford is now one of the largest employers in the automotive sector, – 4100 direct employees and around 40 000 more in the value chain.”

FORD INVESTMENT: Hundreds of metres of production line handle production in Port Elizabeth Image: Ford Motors / Quickpic
FORD INVESTMENT: Hundreds of metres of production line handle production in Port Elizabeth. Image: Ford Motors / Quickpic

2017 saw another major capital injection into Ford SA as part of the drive to achieve an annual production maximum of  168 000 units.

Also announced that year: the first Ranger Raptor is to be produced in South Africa ahead of launch in 2019 to ”introduce an entirely new level of off-road bakkie performance and capability”.

READ MORE Ford features on Carman’s Corner

It’s a similar story at Struandale where 2.2 and 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi machined components and fully assembled engines for the Ranger and Everest are produced, along with engines for European production of a new front-wheel drive Ford Transit van.

Ford says the Ranger is established as one of South Africa’s top sellers. ”It dominates the double-cab segment as one of SA’s top vehicle exports. So far in 2018 49 600 vehicles have been shipped to customers globally – a figure set to increase significantly during the rest of 2018 and into 2019.”

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