Johannesburg - Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) announced on Wednesday plans to invest more than R 1.5bn to expand operations for the production of Ford's next-generation compact pickup truck and Puma diesel engine.
The investment will commence in 2009 and be split between its assembly plant in Silverton,
Pretoria and engine facility in Struandale, Port Elizabeth.
Production of the new diesel engine is scheduled to begin in 2010, followed by production of the new pickup in 2011.
The investment and new manufacturing contract will transform FMCSA's current production landscape to enhance South Africa's significance as a strategic export base for vehicles, engines and components for Ford Motor Company.
Plans call for the Silverton, Waltloo plant to transition from its current production, to a high-volume, flexible single platform line that will accommodate the new pickup.
The investment will increase total annual capacity at the Silverton plant to 110 000 units,
with approximately three-quarters of the vehicles being produced for export, primarily to markets in Africa and Europe.
The Struandale Engine Plant will increase annual production for its next-generation, turbocharged common-rail Puma diesel engine and components to approximately 180 000 units, with the majority being exported.
"Winning this investment is a major achievement for everyone at FMCSA, as well as our partners in government, NUMSA, and our local suppliers, and highlights our strategic position within the future global footprint of Ford Motor Company," explained Hal Feder, president and CEO of FMCSA. "It also underscores Ford's ongoing commitment to expanding our operations in South Africa."
FMCSA expects to hire up to 500 additional employees by the time the realigned production kicks off in 2011.