Ford focus on innovation and expansion in SA

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa invested R3-billion into both Pretoria and Port Elizabeth production plants since 2017.

The growing export-driven business saw Ford announce an R3-billion investment in both their Vehicle Assembly Plant in Silverton, Pretoria and the Engine Plant in Struandale, Port Elizabeth. Now able to produce 168 000 Rangers and Everests per year, it is a 44 000 unit per year increase for the Silverton plant. Since 2008 until last year, R11-billion has been invested into the local production of the Ford Ranger line-up which is not only sold locally but exported to 148 markets around the world.

“Our Ranger programme has been extremely successful, and we produced our 500 000th unit in August last year, the global demand for the Ranger continues to grow, and the R3-billion additional investment in our local operations has enabled us to prepare for an even more exciting and dynamic period ahead, export-oriented business is absolutely crucial for the long-term sustainability of the automotive industry in South Africa, and we are delighted and encouraged by our ongoing expansion in the global Ford supply chain for the Ranger programme. It reaffirms our ability to compete with the best plants in the world in terms of production quality and efficiency,” Neale Hill, MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

The expansion of the plants and increased production is creating multiple opportunities for residents and small and medium-sized businesses in local communities and in South Africa in general. Another way in which Ford is bettering South Africa is through the World Vision South Africa water generation project which is funded and supported by the Bill Ford Better World Challenge, the Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.

The Bill Ford Better World Challenge awarded World Vision South Africa, $200 000 (approximately R2.8-million) in 2018 for its development of an innovative way to address water shortages. The initiative saw additional funding to the value of $130 000 (around R1.9-million) awarded by Ford Research and Advanced Engineering towards the project. Using a Watergen machine, they can extract clean drinking water, in an energy-efficient manner from the air. The funds have been used to acquire this machine and will also cover the project operational costs.

“We are delighted to officially launch this innovative project, thanks to the generous grants received from the Bill Ford Better World Challenge, Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, the Eastern Cape has been severely impacted by drought in recent years, and the poorest communities are the hardest hit. Accordingly, the project will primarily focus on assisting schools, clinics and Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs), as well as households where the need is greatest,” Chikondi Phiri, Officer in Charge, World Vision South Africa.

The Watergen GEN-350 powered by a diesel generator is able to produce 900 litres of water per day while still being completely mobile. Towing the innovative Watergen machine which is mounted onto a heavy-duty, double-axle trailer is a Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi XL Double Cab that was acquired from Eastern Cape Motors Ford North End in Port Elizabeth. Visiting sites around the Nelson Mandela Bay area, the World Vision SA team will be able to assist 79 schools located in Uitenhage and KwaNobuhle, and will benefit at least four clinics in the area, 50 ECDs along with an estimated 3 400 households over a two year period.

“Ford is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate through a wide range of volunteer programmes, and through grants awarded by the Ford Motor Company Fund, Water is a basic and essential human need, and the World Vision project comes at the perfect time to address the drought that has heavily impacted the Eastern Cape and Nelson Mandela Bay recently. We commend the World Vision team for submitting this fantastic concept to the Bill Ford Better World Challenge last year and are proud to have it selected as one of the two global winning projects for 2018. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this water-generating initiative will have on the communities and organisations that need it most, and Ford is honoured to be associated with World Vision as it makes a real difference in peoples’ lives,” Neale Hill, MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

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