R2.5bn Ford SA deal will bring 1200 jobs

  • Ford to invest R2.5-billion in SA Everest/Ranger production
  • Expansion will create 1200 jobs in plant and at dealers
  • 2.2 and 3.2 Everest units for export to African countries

Ford is to expand vehicle production at its Silverton, Pretoria, plant to assemble Everest SUV and Ranger bakkies for local sale and export into sub-Saharan Africa.

This investment, Ford says, will create about 1200 jobs at Ford South SA in the South African supplier network.

Jim Farley, executive vice-president and president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa, told The Corner in a media release: “Producing the seven-seat Everest in South Africa will make it more readily available, in a greater variety of models, throughout Africa south of the Sahara desert.

ranger jim farley
JIM FARLEY: Executive vice-president and president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa. Image: Ford SA/Quickpic

“The investment affirms the importance of these markets as part of our growth across the Middle East and Africa and reinforces South Africa’s position as a strategic export base for Ford.”

The Silverton facility will start Everest production in the third quarter of 2016 to join hubs in Thailand, India and China. Production of the Ranger is already running at maximum at Silverton, the media release added, “with domestic sales and export demand at an historic high”.

Target production is 10 000 Everest units a year. Jeff Nemeth, president and CEO of Ford’s sub-Sahara region told The Corner: “The all-new Everest has been extremely well received since launch in September 2015 and demand is far outstripping supply.

ranger jeff nemeth
JEFF NEMETH: President and CEO of Ford’s sub-Sahara region. Image: Ford SA/Quickpic

“This investment will let us expand the Everest range to eight derivatives across a broader price range and allow people across sub-Saharan Africa to choose from two powerful engines and either a six-speed auto or manual transmission.”

The Everest will for now continue to be imported from Thailand but has the SA-built 3.2-litre, five-cylinder, Duratorq TDCi engine. It is only available in SA as a 3.2 auto in two specs – XLT and Limited. When local assembly commences a 2.2 Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder diesel will be added to the range along with more model variants.

NIGERIA TO HELP WITH AFRICAN PRODUCTION

The engines for the Everest are assembled at a Ford plant in Port Elizabeth to be mounted on a proper chassis and attached to all-wheel drive with electronic “terrain management”.

The Ranger is sold in 148 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Engines and machined components are supplied  to Argentina, Thailand, North America, India and China.

There are 67 markets in the Middle East and Africa, one of them Nigeria where a plant will re-assemble semi-knock-down kits and components from South Africa.

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