By Otsile Kadiege
Ford SA is celebrating significant milestones this year for its local production of the Ranger pickup. At the beginning of September the Ford Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria produced its 500,000th Ranger for export, which is a fitting achievement since it is also the current model’s 10th anniversary this year.
Exports of locally assembled Ford Rangers initially commenced in the year 2000 for the previous-generation model, but it was the 2009 announcement of a R3.4-billion investment in Ford’s local operations that transformed the Silverton Assembly Plant to build the current and, at the time, most advanced Ranger yet. The export-driven investment programme also encompassed the Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), which commenced production of the 3.2 and 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engines and components for domestic assembly, and for exports to other Ford plants around the world.
The then all-new Ranger was launched in South Africa in October 2011, and has gone on to become one of the country’s best-selling vehicles, the leading light commercial vehicle (LCV) export, and an important contributor to the success and growth of the domestic automotive industry and the economy as a whole. By virtue of its local vehicle operations, Ford South Africa currently employs around 4,300 people, and supports approximately 50,000 jobs in the total value chain. Ford SA said, more jobs are on the cards resulting from the $1.05-billion investment announced in February 2021 for the next-generation Ranger.
Ford SA teased the next generation Ford Ranger on their social media platforms. The minute long video shows the bakkie in heavy camouflage tackling various terrains. The all-new Ford Ranger should be unveiled late this year or early 2021.
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