Ford has commenced exports of the Next-Generation Ranger from its manufacturing plants in South Africa to serve the ever-growing customer demand. The South African-built Next-Gen Ranger is presently shipped to more than 100 global markets.
Late last year, the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria became Ford’s third manufacturing hub across its International Markets Group (IMG) to start production of this highly anticipated new global model, which went on sale in South Africa in mid-December 2022.
“We are proud to commence with Next-Gen Ranger exports to customers around the world from our world-class manufacturing facility in South Africa,” says Ockert Berry, VP of Operations, Ford South Africa.
“Having modernized the local production and increased the installed capacity to a record 200 000 units per year, we remain committed to delivering quality Next-Gen Rangers from our Silverton Assembly Plant and Struandale Engine Plant.”
Monthly export volumes from South Africa operations are expected to be around two-thirds of total production, through the Durban and Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) ports, with Europe being the largest export market. This makes Ford one of South Africa’s highest-volume vehicle exporters and a leader in the light commercial vehicle export category.
The two-port local strategy is essential for Ford’s higher export volumes, with the Gqeberha route set to play a more instrumental role once a more efficient and reliable rail corridor between Gauteng and the Eastern Cape is developed.
“We are excited about the huge export potential and continue to work with authorities to address bottlenecks such as high level of congestion at Durban’s roll-on roll-off (RORO) vehicle terminal, as well as lack of rail infrastructure for Ford to direct most of its export as well as import through Gqeberha,” Berry added.
Making sure that Ford’s South African operations are globally competitive and an integral part of the company’s turnaround strategy for its automotive operations, the Silverton Assembly Plant was modernized and expanded through an investment of US$1.05 billion (R15.8 billion), announced in 2021. The extensive upgrades included building an on-site Stamping Plant, a highly automated all-new Body Shop, establishing the only Ford-owned Frame Line in the world, completely revamping the Assembly Line with the latest technologies and extensive investment in the latest tooling for supplier companies. The new and upgraded facilities were essential to unlock the plant’s installed capacity of 200 000 vehicles per year, while consistently delivering world-class quality for Ford’s customers around the world.
An additional US$34 million (R600 million) was invested in the Struandale Engine Plant for the launch of the powerful 3.0L V6 Diesel engine that headlines the Next-Gen Ranger line-up, along with upgrades for the latest-specification 2.0L Single Turbo and 2.0L Bi-Turbo engines.
The expanded production for the Next-Gen Ranger also contributed to significant job creation, thanks to the addition of a third production shift at the Silverton plant in 2022. This further reinforced Ford’s commitment to South Africa as one of five global manufacturing hubs for the Next-Gen Ranger. A total of 1 200 jobs were added for the new shift, taking Ford’s total workforce to 5 500 employees. Approximately 10 000 jobs were added at supplier companies, with local manufacturing for the Next-Gen Ranger now supporting around 60 000 jobs in the total value chain.