By Otsile Kadiege
Ford South Africa’s Struandale Engine Plant started producing engines back in 1964 after Ford Motor Company of South Africa was founded in 1923. An R8,000,000 investment into the engine plant by Henry Ford II positioned Ford as the first motor company in South Africa to manufacture engines locally, and it has played a central role in Ford’s manufacturing and export operations ever since.
At the end of August 2023, the Struandale Engine Plant produced its four-millionth engine – a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Bi-Turbo diesel engine that is being installed in the new Ranger bakkie at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria.
Fittingly, this major milestone also coincides with the 300 000th 2.0L Single Turbo/Bi-Turbo diesel engine being produced at Struandale since this program was launched in 2018. The 2.0-litre engines were updated in 2022 for the new Ranger with further improvements in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) for even greater comfort and refinement.
The Struandale Engine Plant also produces the 2.2L and 3.2L Duratorq TDCi engines that were introduced in 2011, as well as the new 3.0L V6 Diesel engine that powers the range-topping models in the new Ranger line-up, with production commencing in 2022 following a R600-million investment. To date the Struandale plant has produced 11 different engine types, starting off in 1964 with the 1.7L and 2.0L V4, the much-loved Essex V6, as well as the 1.3L and 1.6L Kent four-cylinder engines.
The Struandale Engine Plant currently has around 850 employees, with a total of approximately 5 500 people employed by Ford South Africa – almost double the 2 700 jobs it provided in 1964. Last year the Struandale Engine Plant won the overall 2022 Exporter of the Year title and the Best Exporter OEM award from Exporters Eastern Cape. “This was a huge accolade and provided well-deserved recognition for our dedicated team. It was made possible by our ongoing investment, unwavering commitment to quality, continuous improvement and innovation,” Govender says.
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