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A proud legacy: So long Ranger. Hello there next-gen

Home Manufacturing & Processing Automotive A proud legacy: So long Ranger. Hello there next-gen

PRODUCTION of Ford’s current-generation Ranger pick-up has drawn to a close at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria. The last unit came off the assembly line on November 10, 2022, ending with a total of 873 751 vehicles produced as the final preparations are made for the imminent start of production of the highly anticipated Next-Generation Ranger.

“Our locally assembled Ford Ranger has been a huge success in South Africa and internationally, having completely redefined the pick-up segment when it was launched in 2011 and it continued to set benchmarks over the ensuing 11 years,” says VP operations at Ford South Africa, Ockert Berry. “Ranger not only placed South Africa on the map as a global production and export hub, but also played an important role in expanding the domestic automotive manufacturing sector.”

Local production of the current Ranger was the result of an initial 2009 investment of R3.4 billion in Ford’s Silverton assembly plant and the Struandale engine plant in Gqeberha to supply the domestic market and more than 100 global markets. By 2018, the total investment in South Africa for the Ranger program had increased to R11 billion. This facilitated extensive upgrades, the implementation of new technologies and the capacity of the Silverton plant being expanded in 2016 and again two years later to serve the strong local and international demand for the Ranger.

Ford ensured that the Ranger remained fresh and extremely popular throughout its lifespan thanks to continuous improvements, comprehensive model updates, innovative features, and latest-generation 2.0L Single Turbo and Bi-Turbo engines paired with Ford’s advanced 10-speed automatic gearbox.

There was also great excitement in 2019 as the Silverton assembly plant began production of the ground-breaking first-ever Ranger Raptor. As the only high-performance off-road pick-up in its segment, it remains in a class of its own even as production of the current model ends.

The outgoing Ranger earned many awards over the years, including receiving the International Pick-up Award (IPUA) in 2013 and again in 2020 from the International Van of the Year jury. It also won CAR Magazine’s Top 12 Best Buys in the popular double cab segment for an unprecedented 11 consecutive years – every year of production!

All of this ensured that the Ranger rapidly became and has remained one of South Africa’s most popular vehicles, with more than 271 000 of the outgoing model sold in the country, contributing to the significant growth of the double cab pick-up segment.

In 2021 Ford announced the largest single investment in the South African automotive industry of US$1 billion (R15.8 billion) for the Next-Gen Ranger. The expanded and modernized facilities sustained production of the outgoing Ranger over the past year while ramping up the installed capacity of the Silverton plant, which is now capable of producing 200 000 vehicles per year.
“This brings Ford’s total investment in South Africa to more than R27 billion over the past 13 years, which signifies our unequivocal commitment to the country, and our dedication to providing must-have products for our customers around the world,” Berry adds. “It has also given us the platform to promote economic development and create much-needed job opportunities. We are extremely proud to support 5 500 jobs at Ford South Africa and around 60 000 jobs in the supply chain, while contributing more than 1% to South Africa’s total GDP.”

Leading LCV export

Of the almost 874 000 current-generation Ford Rangers produced at the Silverton assembly plant since 2011, more than two-thirds have been supplied to export markets.

“We shipped nearly 603 000 current-generation Rangers to customers around the world, which has consistently positioned the Ranger as South Africa’s leading light commercial vehicle export,” says plant manager of the Silverton assembly plant, Tim Day. “This is a significant achievement for our local operations, our employees and our suppliers as an integral part of Ford’s global manufacturing network.”

Ford has a great history with the outgoing Ranger, and this success created the foundation to build an even brighter future for its South African operations with the Next-Gen Ranger. “The latest investment program and imminent launch of the Next-Gen Ranger represents a major leap forward for us, not only due to the higher volumes but also by virtue of the state-of-the-art technologies and quality controls that have been introduced throughout our production facilities,” Day says. “We’re looking forward to getting our Next-Gen Rangers to our eager customers soon, and continuing to build the proud legacy for Ranger in South Africa and around the world.”

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