Ford suspends production at South African factories
Pretoria - Ford has become the second car manufacturer to announce that it will be halting production in South Africa as a result of the coronavirus.
The carmaker announced on Monday that from Friday, March 27 it would temporarily suspend production at its main vehicle assembly plant in Silverton, near Pretoria, as well as at its Struandale engine factory in Port Elizabeth.
This is in line with a global directive that will also see it halting production this week in Vietnam and Thailand, among other countries. Ford has already closed its factories in Europe, North America, South America and India.
Ford did not give an exact timeline for the stoppage, but said it was expected to last a “number of weeks” and that any further decisions would depend on the status of the pandemic as well as national restrictions, supplier constraints and dealer stock requirements.
The Silverton plant currently produces Ranger and Everest models for local consumption and export, while the Struandale facility assembles the turbodiesel engines that power the aforementioned models.
“The health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers, partners and communities is our highest priority," said Ford’s international markets head Mark Ovenden.
"We are continuing to act in real time and taking added safety measures by temporarily halting production at our manufacturing sites in the international markets."
Ford said that other non-factory employees who were able to work from home would be required to do so, while precautionary measures would be taken to protect the small number of employees who are unable to work from home.