Ford is exporting its next-generation Ranger

Ford has commenced exports of its next-generation Ranger from its manufacturing plant in Silverton, Pretoria, to more than 100 global markets.

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This follows the R15.8 billion investment by Ford in the Silverton plant and supplier facilities plus R600 million in its Struandale engine plant in Gqeberha, previously known as Port Elizabeth.

The Silverton assembly plant was modernised and expanded through the investment announced in 2021 to ensure that Ford’s South African operations are globally competitive and form an integral part of the company’s turnaround strategy for its automotive operations.

Monthly export volumes from Ford’s South African operations are expected to account for about two-thirds of the plant’s total production, with Europe the largest export market.

This makes Ford one of South Africa’s highest-volume vehicle exporters and a leader in the light commercial vehicle export category.

The Ranger units are exported through the ports of Durban and Gqeberha.

Ford South Africa Vice-President of Operations, Ockert Berry, said Ford South Africa remained committed to delivering quality next-gen Rangers from its Silverton assembly plant and Struandale engine plant to the export market following the modernisation of its local production and increasing the plant’s installed capacity to a record 200 000 units a year.

Berry said the two-port local strategy is essential for Ford’s higher export volumes, with the Gqeberha route set to play a more instrumental role once a more efficient and reliable rail corridor between Gauteng and the Eastern Cape has been developed.

“We are excited about the huge export potential and continue to work with authorities to address bottlenecks, such as the high level of congestion at Durban’s roll-on roll-off (RORO) vehicle terminal and the lack of rail infrastructure, for Ford to direct most of its exports – as well as imports – through Gqeberha,” he said.

The expanded production for the next-gen Ranger has contributed to significant job creation, thanks to the addition of a third production shift at the Silverton plant in 2022.

A total of 1 200 jobs were added for the new shift to increase Ford South Africa’s total workforce to 5 500 employees and further reinforced Ford’s commitment to South Africa as one of five global manufacturing hubs for the next-gen Ranger.

The extensive upgrades at the Silverton plant included building an on-site stamping plant, a highly automated new body shop, establishing the only Ford-owned frame line in the world, completely revamping the assembly line with the latest technologies and extensive investment in the latest tooling for supplier companies.

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