Ford Motor Company Southern African (FMCSA) has announced a further investment of R15.8-billion into production of the next generation Ranger, and more than likely its twin, the Volkswagen Amarok, at its Silverton Plant outside Pretoria from next year.
In making the announcement at the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone on Tuesday (2 February), attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Blue Oval’s Director of Operations for International Markets, Andrea Cavallaro, confirmed that the investment rates as the biggest in Dearborn’s 97 year South African history and the biggest automotive venture the country has ever seen.
He stated that the investment, of which R10.3-billion will be spent on upgrading Silverton, would result in the creation of 1 200 incremental new jobs, increasing the current local workhorse to 5 500, and 10 000 across the supply chain thus resulting in a total of 60 000. A total of 8 600 jobs are also set to be created in the construction of a new chassis facility within the SEZ, of which R5.5-billion of the R15.8-billion will be invested for vendor tooling, a feat described by President Ramaphosa as a “clear statement of the company’s confidence in South Africa and ability of South Africans”.
The investment is also poised to make the plant one of the biggest bakkie producing facilities outside of the United States and ultimately result in production increasing from 168 000 to 200 000 Rangers per year. Aside from the Ranger and Amarok, production of the Everest will continue at Silverton as well.
“The new and upgraded facilities, state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies and in-depth employee training will drive improved capability and associated efficiencies across our entire South African operation. This will ensure that the next-generation Ranger delivers world-class quality that our customers expect,” Cavallaro said.
“This is a great opportunity to use the country’s advantages that we have as a nation which includes a well-developed automotive industry, second to none in Africa and amongst best in the world. We cannot ever operate as an island. The world has opened up global trade and investment. We have to show that we can compete with the rest of the world,” President Ramaphosa added.
FMCSA Managing Director Neale Hill has described the investment, which will culminate in the plant aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050 and off the national grid by 2024, as a clear indication of the brand’s commitment to South Africa “while providing opportunities for our own employees, new team members and our communities”.