Motoring / Motoring News

Jaco Van Der Merwe
Head of Motoring
2 minute read
25 Jul 2019
9:18 am

Ford expands production

Jaco Van Der Merwe

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has given the ailing local economy a major boost by creating 1 200 jobs through the implementation of a third shift at their Silverton assembly plant.

From next month the plant, which produces Rangers, Ranger Raptors and Everests for the local and export market, will run around the clock, Monday to Thursday, during which 720 vehicles will be built a day – an increase of 206 .

The plant will run on a two shift strategy with an output of 480 vehicles on Fridays , with the option of implementing a third shift to address possible production shortfalls.

FMCSA’s managing director Neale Hill said: “We are extremely proud to have created 1 200 jobs in the current economic climate. We hired mostly young people looking for a footing to start their careers.”

The third shift will increase the plant’s total annual production to 168 000, two thirds for export to 148 countries. This number is a significant increase from the 110 000 when the Ranger was first introduced in 2011, a result of a R3-billion investment in the plant in 2017.

The additional jobs bring the total of number of FMCSA employees to 5 500, while the plant’s higher demand will bolster supplier companies by adding around 10 000 jobs in that sector. In total, Ford’s local vehicle assembly operations will now support some 60 000 jobs within the total value chain.

FMCSA’s Vice President of Operations Ockert Berry said: “In addition to the job opportunities created for hourly employees, the new shift makes provision for 104 skilled artisans and technicians who have been appointed as permanent employees, thus adding to the skill set of our staff complement in Silverton. Ford’s domestic turnover now accounts for 1% of the country’s GDP [gross domestic product].”

The engines for the vehicles are built at Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth, which according to Berry “can’t keep up with the massive demand”.

Struandale has been upgraded to produce 120 000 bi-and single-turbo engines a month and 130 000 2.2 and 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engines, which along with major engine components are for the local and export market.

Ford recently adopted a multi-port strategy by shipping 1 000 units from the PE harbour every month, in addition to their shipments from Durban. This agreement enables Ford to utilise the railway carriages transporting engines from PE by returning completed units ready for shipment.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.