New Ford plant visited by senior leaders

Ford South Africa showcased the upgrades to their Silverton facility in Pretoria during a recent visit by senior leaders from their International Markets Group (IMG).

F Ford Silverton011

The visit included inspection of the overall modernisation of the Silverton plant’s assembly line, the construction of Ford’s first on-site Stamping Plant, and the all-new Body Shop and the Ford-owned Frame Line – in preparation for the launch of Next-Generation Ford Ranger – was showcased.

This followed the announcement in February this year of Ford Motor Company’s R15.8 billion investment in its Silverton plant and supplier facilities to modernise its local operations and expand installed production capacity to 200 000 vehicles per annum.

The government was also present, including Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), Fikile Majola; Executive Director of the Special Economic Zones Unit at the Industrial Development Corporation, Lionel October; Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Economic Affairs MEC Parks Tau; as well as CEO of TASEZ, Simphiwe Hamilton.

Ford was represented by its senior leadership team from the International Markets Group (IMG), headed by its President, Dianne Craig; Director of Operations, Andrea Cavallaro; Chief Financial Officer, Dave Schock; and Lynn Tyson, Executive Director of Investor Relations. The local team comprised Neale Hill, President of Ford Motor Company Africa Region; Ockert Berry, VP Operations; Esther Buthelezi, Director of Transformation and Government Affairs; and Dhiren Vanmali, Sales Director.

“Silverton is one of five Ford facilities around the world that assemble our segment-defining Ranger pick-up, along with two plants in Thailand, and one each in Argentina and the United States. Ranger is truly a global product, brought to customers around the world who love and rely on their Ranger for family, work and play,” Dianne Craig said.

The next-generation Ranger, which is scheduled to start production next year in Silverton, South Africa, is exported to over one hundred global markets, including the entire African continent.

It is thumbs up for Ford’s new and upgraded facilities in Silverton in Pretoria.

“We truly appreciate and value our partnership with national, provincial and local government, which helped make this investment possible. It is impacting communities with 1 200 incremental new jobs at Ford, and an additional 10 000 jobs in the total value chain. So, it is changing lives for South Africans, not just in the years ahead, but for decades to come,” Craig added.

Ford is also building its first on-site Stamping Plant and an all-new Body Shop at the Silverton plant, with the majority of the equipment already installed and being readied for the initial tooling trials early next year. A vast 100 000 m2 Ford-owned Frame Line is under construction in the Tshwane Automotive SEZ. The e-coat section of the facility is nearing completion, with work about to commence on installing the two fully automated robotic assembly lines.

Deputy Minister of the DTIC, Fikile Majola, commented: “Ford’s decision to invest in South Africa and in this plant is very important for us, as it supports thousands of jobs in the local communities. Our partnership with Ford in the Tshwane Automotive SEZ is one of our great success stories, as it serves as an example of what government can do when working with the private sector.

“Partnerships like this will play an important role in helping drive the African Continental Free Trade Area agenda, which President Ramaphosa has prioritised to integrate and develop the African continent,” Majola said.

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, echoed the positive sentiment: “Ford’s US1.05 billion investment was great news when it was announced in February this year, and it’s still the best South African investment story in one day from a single company. We’re grateful for the investment and Ford’s confidence in the country, and we are working closely with all our partners to reciprocate by doing everything we can to make this project a success.”

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