Cape Town - Production of Ford's next generation Focus range will shift from South Africa to Australia.
SAPA has reported that the third-generation sub-compact will be manufactured at Ford Australia's Melbourne plant from 2010.
About 40 000 Focus units per year are being projected, many of which will be exported to South Africa, New Zealand and other right-hand drive markets.
The Focus range of hatchbacks and sedans is currently being produced at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa's Silverton plant.
Locally, FMCSA's head of communications Ben Pillay has confirmed that Focus production at Silverton will cease from 2010/2011. No job cuts are expected, though.
"We are working on another programme to replace Focus production. The new programme hasn't been confirmed, but details should be finalised within the next two months," Pillay said.
Ford Australia president Tom Gorman said that the Focus production will "more than double" its export footprint.
"It also reflects contemporary market demands for smaller vehicles and opens up
significant export opportunities within the region," he said.
The Melbourne plant's Focus production comes at the expense of its six-cylinder units. Ford last week announced job cuts at the plant as sales of its six-cylinder models have dropped with consumers moving towards smaller, more fuel efficient cars.