Ford Motor Company celebrated its 100-year legacy in South Africa at its Silverton, Pretoria plant yesterday with the announcement of a R5.2 billion ($272 million) investment in its local operations to produce the first-ever Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).
Food also marked the 100 years with the announcement of a vastly expanded model range that will soon be available for its South African customers. Ford Motor Company would invest the R5.2bn in the Silverton Assembly Plant to start producing the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid in late 2024.
Neil Hill, Ford Motor Company Africa president, said it was the first time a vehicle manufacturer in South Africa had introduced nine new vehicles to the South African market in 18 months.
“The additional investment in the Silverton assembly plant for the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid takes our total manufacturing investment in South Africa over the past 14 years to around $1.72bn, or nearly R33bn,” said Andrea Cavallaro, the operations director at Ford International Markets Group.
He said when Ford started making cars in South Africa in 1924, it produced 10 cars a day and currently it produced 720 per day – a number higher than any other vehicle manufacturer in the country.
The company’s expanded local line-up will comprise the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, the seventh-generation Mustang range (which will include the most powerful naturally aspirated Mustang ever – the Mustang Dark Horse), the new Territory five-seater SUV, and the next-generation Tourneo and Transit Custom.
In addition, new derivatives of the Ranger, the adventure-orientated Tremor and the Ranger Platinum, were being previewed before their local launch. The Ranger is Ford South Africa’s top export vehicle with more than 630 000 Rangers exported since the model was first produced in South Africa in 2011, with more than 960 000 of the vehicles produced locally since then.
“From humble beginnings that established Ford in South Africa in November 1923, our team and facilities here have grown into a world-class operation that delivers the highest-quality vehicles to our customers in South Africa and around the world,” Elena Ford, Ford chief dealer engagement officer, said at the event in Pretoria.
She said the expanded model range reinforced Ford’s family-company beliefs and values that continued to guide its business and were a source of pride for the families who had worked at the company for generations.
Ford South Africa also plans to launch three education projects as part of its centenary celebrations.
Ford and its project partners were creating 100 maths and science laboratories for primary schools around the country, building 100 early childhood development (ECD) centres, and funding 100 youth scholarships to promote learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.
The investment for the plug-in hybrid version of the Ranger will include a new battery pack assembly plant that is being constructed within the Silverton plant.
Ford’s Chassis Plant in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone is also being upgraded to accommodate the unique chassis configuration for this model, including changes to the robots, welding equipment, control systems, conveyors and skids.