Ford Motor Company has announced it has invested R11-billion in its South African operations over the past decade, currently employing more than 4 000 people in South Africa, and supporting about 50 000 indirect jobs within the value chain
The carmaker is to date producing 168 000 Ford Ranger pick-up and the Everest seven-seater sport utility vehicle (SUV) per year for the global market.
Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Managing Director Neale Hill said investment in the global export programme began in 2009, transforming the local production facilities in Silverton, Pretoria and Struandale in Port Elizabeth.
The company transformed the two production plants into a high-volume flexible single platform operation for the trend-setting new-generation Ranger and its Duratorq TDCi turbo diesel engines.
“With a total investment of R11-billion since 2009, we have progressed from a low-volume multi-vehicle business serving the domestic industry to becoming a high-volume single platform manufacturer that is the Ranger production source for 148 markets globally,” said Hill.
Year-to-date, Ford has sold 49 600 vehicles to global customers, and we expect this figure to balloon for the balance of 2018 and into next year.
“From the installed capacity of 110 000 units when we assembled the new-generation Ford Ranger in 2011, we now can build 168 000 vehicles annually to meet future requirements.
We are extremely proud that Ford is one of the largest employers in the automotive sector, currently employing 4 100 people in South Africa, and supporting around 50 000 indirect jobs within the value chain,” said Hill.
In 2016, Ford invested in further expansion of Ranger production and,, for the local assembly of the sophisticated Everest SUV for South Africa and for export to markets across the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Ford Ranger is one of South Africa’s top sellers and dominates the extremely popular double cab segment.
Local production also contributed towards creating 1 200 new jobs at Ford South Africa and within its local supplier network.
Hill said the carmaker will produce Ford Ranger Raptor in South Africa when it hits the market in 2019, introducing a new level of off-road performance and capability to the pick-up segment.
“The ongoing investments and extensive upgrades to our plants have ensured that we are ready to meet current and future demand, with the potential for increased job opportunities,” said Hill.
According to Hill, the company has for the past 10 years seen a complete transformation of Ford’s manufacturing operations in South Africa, saying it is one of the country’s top vehicle exports, a leading light commercial vehicle (LCV) export.
“It remains the best-selling pick-up in Europe too,” added Hill.
Struandale Engine Plant produces the 2.2 and 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi components and complete engines for the Ranger and Everest.
It also assemble additional engine derivatives for newly added front-wheel drive markets in Europe for the Ford Transit.
Duratorq TDCi capacity programme has grown from the original 220 000 machined component sets [cylinder head, block and crankshaft] in 2011 to a planned 280 000 by the end of 2018.
Engine assembly capacity has increased from 75 000 to 130 000 engines per annum over the same period.
An all-new assembly line has been installed this year for the advanced new-generation engines that will power the 2019 Ford Ranger and Everest models includes the new Bi-Turbo engine to be used in the exciting Ford Ranger Raptor.
Installation capacity for the new engine assembly line is 120 000 units per year, contributing to a highest-ever combined capacity of 250 000 engines for the Port Elizabeth plant.