by MTHULISI SIBANDA
PRETORIA – FORD Motor Company is investing US$1,05 billion (R15,8 billion) in its South African manufacturing operations.
This marks the biggest investment in Ford’s 97-year history in the Southern African country.
It also represents one of the largest-ever investments in the South African automotive industry and boosts Ford’s production capability and creating new jobs.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the announcement at a media briefing attended by government and Ford officials on Tuesday.
The overall investment includes US$686 million (R10,3 billion) for extensive upgrades to the Silverton Assembly Plant that will increase production volume and drive significant improvements in production efficiency and vehicle quality.
Ford also will invest US$365 million (R5,5 billion) to upgrade tooling at the company’s major supplier factories.
“This investment will further modernise our South African operations, helping them to play an even more important role in the turnaround and growth of our global automotive operations, as well as our strategic alliance with Volkswagen,” said Dianne Craig, President of Ford’s International Markets Group.
With this investment, Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant is expected to generate revenues exceeding 1,1 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product.
The annual installed capacity at the Silverton plant will increase to 200 000 vehicles from 168 000, supporting production of the all-new Ford Ranger pickup truck for the domestic market and export to over 100 global markets.
The plant also will manufacture Volkswagen pickups trucks as part of the Ford-VW strategic alliance.
The expanded production will help create 1 200 incremental Ford jobs in South Africa, increasing the local workforce to 5 500 employees, and adding an estimated 10 000 new jobs across Ford’s local supplier network, bringing the total to 60 000.
– CAJ News