Production has commenced of the new Ford Ranger at the vehicle manufacturer’s assembly plant in Silverton in Pretoria after R3bn investment. Photo: AP

PRETORIA – Production has commenced of the new Ford Ranger at the vehicle manufacturer’s assembly plant in Silverton in Pretoria, following an investment of more than R3 billion in extensive upgrades to its plant and its local operations.

Neale Hill, the managing director of the Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region, said yesterday that they were delighted to see the first of the new Ford Ranger models coming off their production line, following the investment of more than R3bn in their local operations and extensive upgrades to their plants over the past 18 months.

The objective of the investment in Ford’s production facilities in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth was to expand its production at both plants to meet local and international demand for the  Ranger.

Ford confirmed last year that the capacity of the Silverton assembly plant had increased from 100 000 to 124 000 units a year during the course of the revamp.

The company last year also streamlined the number of vehicle model derivatives it manufactured and imported as part of an initiative to remove complexity and improve efficiencies.

This resulted in Ford last year reducing the number of Ranger derivatives from more than 40 to less than 30.

Hill said this year was an important and exciting one for the Ford Ranger and would also see the launch of the first Ranger Raptor.

He described the Raptor as “undoubtedly one of this year’s most highly-anticipated new models”.

“The 2019 Ford Ranger will deliver more power, greater fuel efficiency, enhanced refinement and even more advanced technologies when it goes on sale in the coming months and we are confident it will once again set the benchmark in the extremely competitive pick-up segment,” he said.

In addition to being sold in the domestic market, the new Ranger and Ranger Raptor were also destined for export markets in Africa, Europe and Middle East.

Hill said the locally assembled Ranger Raptor was set to create an entirely new segment in the pick-up market on its debut.

Selected range-topping Ranger models, including the Ranger Raptor, would be powered by the new 2.0 Bi-Turbo diesel engine assembled at Ford’s Struandale engine plant.

Hill added that there was a lot of excitement and hype around the Ranger Raptor.

“This exhilarating new model will occupy a white space in the pick-up market when it goes on sale in the second quarter of this year, creating the first-ever true performance model in this crucial segment,” he said.

BUSINESS REPORT