BUILT IN SA: Ford South Africa will build the new Everest at its factory in Silverton, Pretoria. Image: Quickpic
Pretoria - Ford South Africa is investing R2.5-billion to expand operations in South Africa at its Silverton factory in Pretoria, to produce the all-new Ford Everest, along with the new Ford Ranger that was launched at the end of 2015.
This investment will create approximately 1200 new jobs at Ford South Africa and within the South African supplier network.
South African-produced models will be sold locally and exported to markets across Sub-Saharan Africa.
SA seen as strategic export base
Jim Farley, Ford executive vice-president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa said: "Our customers love the capability and utility offered by the all-new Ford Everest.
Farley added: "The R2.5-billion investment reaffirms the importance of these markets as part of our growth strategy across the Middle East and Africa,” Farley added. “It further reinforces South Africa’s position as a strategic export base for Ford Motor Company.”
Production to start in Q3
The Silverton facility joins AutoAlliance Thailand in Rayong; Ford’s Chennai plant in India (where it is sold as the Endeavor) and the JMC Xiaolan Plant in Nanchang, China, as production hubs for the Everest. Initial production at Silverton of the Everest will commence in the third quarter of 2016, with the first units expected to come to market in the fourth quarter.
Part of this investment has been directed towards the production of the new Ranger, which is already running at maximum capacity at the Silverton Assembly Plant – with domestic sales and export demand at an all-time high.
The Silverton Assembly is equipped to produce 10 000 Everest’s per annum, reports Ford
Jeff Nemeth, president and CEO of Ford MotorCompany Sub-Saharan Africa Region, said: “The all-new Everest has been extremely well received since it was launched in September last year, with demand far outstripping supply.
Read: We drive updated Ranger in SA: 'Your move Hilux'
“This crucial investment will enable us to increase volumes and expand the Everest range to eight derivatives across a broader price range. It will allow customers across Sub-Saharan Africa to choose from two powerful engines mated to robust six-speed automatic or manual transmissions for exceptional capability.”
Currently, the all-new Everest is imported from Thailand, using the locally produced 3.2-litre five-cylinder Duratorq TDCi engine. It is only available in South Africa in 3.2 Automatic guise in two specification levels – XLT and the range-topping Limited. With the commencement of local production, a 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder diesel engine will be added to the range, along with a wider spread of specification levels.
Read: Ford’s new Everest in SA: ‘Tough but not rough’
The all-new Ford Everest is a rugged seven-seat SUV featuring body-on-frame construction, intelligent four-wheel drive and an Advanced Terrain Management System to help navigate challenging terrain with ease.
In recent years, Africa has emerged as an increasingly important region for Ford, with continued investment and growth.
Joins locally-built Ranger
In 2008, Ford announced plans to build the Ford Ranger at its Silverton Assembly Plant with an investment of R3.4 billion. The investment allowed Ford to transform both of its South African plants into world class facilities to produce the Ford Ranger and Duratorq TDCi engines for local consumption and export.
The Ford Ranger is exported to 148 countries in Africa, Middle East and Europe, while engines and machined components are supplied to Argentina, Thailand, North America, India and China.
Read: African expansion: Ford's new models revealed
In 2014, Ford formed its newest business unit, Middle East and Africa comprising 67 markets to support the region with a dedicated focus and clear understanding of the unique conditions and customer needs.
The African growth story continued in 2015, when Ford confirmed that it would assemble the Ford Ranger in Nigeria, using semi knock-down (SKD) kits and components imported from South Africa.
“As we continue to grow our business here in South Africa we are committed to improving the skills of our employees and creating new opportunities within the company and the broader supply chain. It is only through the dedication and commitment of our work force, suppliers, dealers, union and government partners that we have been able to secure this investment and expand our operations, broadening our footprint in Africa even further,” Nemeth said.