by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – FORD Motor Company is to invest R5,2 billion (US$272 million) in its local operations for the production of the first-ever Ranger Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) in South Africa.
This investment at the Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria is part of celebrations of 100-year legacy in the country.
Ford is also marking this milestone with the reveal of an expanded product range to be available to its South African customers.
The line-up comprises the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, the exciting seventh-generation Mustang range, the all-new Territory five-seater SUV and the next-generation Tourneo and Transit Custom.
“This is a momentous occasion as we celebrate Ford’s Centenary in South Africa,” said Elena Ford, Chief Dealer Engagement officer, Ford Motor Company.
“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.”
The investment for the plug-in hybrid version of the Ranger incorporates a new battery pack assembly plant that is being constructed within the Silverton plant for the PHEV system. Ford’s Chassis Plant in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) 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.
Furthermore, the vehicle assembly operations are being adapted to accommodate the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid.
The additional investment in Silverton takes Ford’s total manufacturing investment in South Africa over the past 14 years to around $1,72 billion, or nearly R33 billion.
“It signals our commitment to the country, our employees and our extensive supplier network,” said Andrea Cavallaro, Operations director, Ford International Markets Group.
Ford currently employs approximately 5 200 people in South Africa.
In keeping with the 100th anniversary celebration theme, Ford and its project partners are creating 100 maths and science laboratories for primary schools around the country, building 100 early childhood development centres and funding 100 youth scholarships to promote learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.
– CAJ News