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Celebrating 100 years with new products and community projects

Home Manufacturing & Processing Automotive Celebrating 100 years with new products and community projects

FORD Motor Company is celebrating its proud 100-year legacy in South Africa with the announcement of a R5.2 billion (US$272 million) investment in its local operations for the production of the first-ever Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

Ford is also marking this historic milestone with the reveal of an expanded product range that will soon be available to its South African customers. The line-up comprises the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, the exciting seventh-generation Mustang range (which will include the most powerful naturally aspirated Mustang ever – the Mustang Dark Horse), the all-new Territory five-seater SUV, and the next-generation Tourneo and Transit Custom.

Additional derivatives of the country’s top-selling double cab pickup and current South African Car of the Year are being previewed prior to their upcoming local launch, comprising the adventure-oriented Ranger Tremor and the Ranger Platinum – the most luxurious Ranger ever.

“This is a momentous occasion as we celebrate Ford’s Centenary in South Africa,” said Elena Ford, chief dealer engagement officer, Ford Motor Company. “From humble beginnings that established Ford in South Africa in November 1923, our team and facilities here have grown into a world-class operation that delivers the highest-quality vehicles to our customers in South Africa and around the world.

“It reinforces our family-company beliefs and values that continue to guide our business and are a source of pride for the families who have worked here for generations, the dealers who have been the face of the brand for decades, and our loyal customers who embody the enthusiasm for the Blue Oval,” Elena Ford said.

Along with continuing to invest in vehicles and facilities in South Africa, Ford Motor Company is deeply committed to building a better world. Empowering and uplifting communities is central to this ethos and it’s a topic that is very important to Ford Motor Company and its philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund. Mary Culler, president of the Ford Fund, said: “Along with our already extensive range of community projects in South Africa, I am proud to launch three far-reaching education projects as part of the Centenary celebrations that will create a lasting legacy for thousands of young people in this wonderful country.”

In keeping with the 100th-anniversary celebration theme, Ford and its project partners are creating 100 maths and science laboratories for primary schools around the country, building 100 early childhood development (ECD) centres, and funding 100 youth scholarships to promote learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.

Investment for Ranger Plug-in Hybrid

Ford Motor Company is investing R5.2 in the Silverton Assembly Plant for production of the first-ever Ranger Plug-in Hybrid, commencing in late 2024.

The investment for the plug-in hybrid version of the Ranger incorporates a new battery pack assembly plant that is being constructed within the Silverton plant for the PHEV system. Ford’s Chassis Plant in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) is also being upgraded to accommodate the unique chassis configuration for this model, including changes to the robots, welding equipment, control systems, conveyors and skids.

Furthermore, the vehicle assembly operations are being adapted to accommodate the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid, specifically on the Trim, Chassis and Final (TCF) line. This includes changes to the handling equipment, turnover fixtures, charging systems, leak detection and testing equipment, as well as a new repair area.

“The additional investment in the Silverton Assembly Plant for the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid takes our total manufacturing investment in South Africa over the past 14 years to around $1.72 billion, or nearly R33 billion,” says Andrea Cavallaro, operations director, Ford International Markets Group. “It signals our commitment to the country, our employees and our extensive supplier network.”

Ford currently employs approximately 5,200 people in South Africa. The local operations support around 60,000 jobs in the total value chain amongst supplier companies and contributes more than 1 percent to South Africa’s GDP.

Along with the new battery facility and plant upgrades required for the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid, the Paint Shop is being revamped to further improve paint quality and first time through (FTT) for all vehicles produced in South Africa. This will guarantee the highest levels of customer satisfaction and consistently deliver the required production volumes. The Silverton Assembly Plant has an installed capacity to produce 720 vehicles per day over three shifts, or 200,000 vehicles per year.

“As with the current Ranger models, the new Ranger Plug-in Hybrid will be exported to Europe as part of our commitment to offer a wide range of powertrain options for customers in this important mid-size pickup segment,” Cavallaro says. “For the first time in about two decades, the Silverton plant will also be supplying vehicles to Australia and New Zealand, as it will be the source market for the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid for these countries.”

The Ranger Plug-in Hybrid will deliver more torque than any other Ranger, thanks to a 2.3-litre Ford EcoBoost turbo petrol engine paired with an electric motor and rechargeable battery system. It can be driven in pure electric mode for more than 45 kilometres without using a drop of fuel or producing tailpipe emissions, helping customers save at the pump and reduce their environmental impact.

It will provide all the towing and payload capability customers expect of Ranger, along with Pro Power Onboard for the first time, enabling customers to power their tools and appliances on a worksite or remote campsite by plugging them into power outlets embedded in both the cargo bed and the cabin. This will ensure Ranger owners will have the power they need for both work and play.

Expanding product portfolio

“Today we are reaffirming our commitment to providing distinctive products and services for our customers in South Africa, supported by always-on relationships and an ever-improving user experience,” says Kay Hart, president, Ford International Markets Group.

“We will be adding two new models to the Ranger line-up, which is proudly built in South Africa and exported to more than 100 markets,” Hart says. “As the first pickup to win the South African Car of the Year title in 2023, along with a long list of awards around the world, Ranger is an integral part of Ford’s success, and reinforces the brand’s proud heritage of producing segment-defining pickup vehicles.”

Following the recent local launch of the adventure-ready Ranger Wildtrak X, Ford will soon be introducing the Ranger Tremor using the same basic recipe, as it is aimed at customers who require enhanced capability in challenging off-road conditions. Tremor is based on the hard-working XLT series and incorporates a substantially reworked chassis with wider track and higher ground clearance, along with Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers and off-road focused driver assistance systems as standard.

The upcoming Ranger Platinum is positioned above the popular Wildtrak models and raises luxury and comfort to a new level in the Ranger family, as well as for the local pickup segment. It is aimed at customers who appreciate the premium levels of comfort and technology from high-end road cars, but who rely on the toughness and all-round productivity that consistently make Ranger the double cab leader in South Africa.

“Our all-new Tourneo Custom is set to raise the bar in the multi-activity vehicle segment, combining a new platform engineered for maximum versatility and comfort which makes it an ideal choice for personal use and business customers,” Hart says. Tourneo Custom features an optimised vehicle platform that delivers generous cabin space. Standard and long wheelbase models each offer three rows of seating for up to nine occupants, delivering next-level practicality across the range.

Europe’s top-selling van and last year’s best-selling vehicle overall in the UK, the all-new Transit Custom, is heading to South Africa and is designed to enable small and medium businesses to achieve new levels of productivity. It is built on an all-new vehicle architecture that has a 100mm lower cargo floor and improved cabin access for easier loading and unloading, along with an extensive range of innovative features to help maximise productivity during the working day.

“We are bringing the Territory nameplate back as a new challenger in the rapidly growing sport utility vehicle segment,” Hart says. “The all-new Territory is a spacious five-seater SUV that has a commanding presence and smart technology.” Territory is aimed at young, smart, and connected customers, and embodies a modern design with a commanding presence, a spacious cabin and advanced technology features that deliver an exciting and progressive customer experience.

“Next year will be very exciting for all petrolheads as we bring the all-new Mustang and the thrilling new Mustang Dark Horse to South Africa,” Hart says. The seventh-generation Mustang is the most exhilarating and visceral yet, from its edgier yet timeless exterior design to the fighter jet-inspired digital cockpit and advanced range of engines, including the latest generation of Ford’s 5.0-litre Coyote V8.

The Mustang range just gets even better with the all-new Mustang Dark Horse which will be launched next year as well. This exhilarating new model is the most powerful naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 Mustang ever, and the most track-capable thanks to improved aerodynamics, upgraded hardware, new software and special tuning.

“I am delighted to announce that in 2025 we will be taking South Africa into a new electrified era and bringing new customers to our dealerships with the launch of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E,” Hart says. “Mach-E represents a landmark moment for us as it shows our commitment to a cleaner, greener and electric future in South Africa, symbolizing Ford’s vision for a better tomorrow globally.”

As the first production Ford developed from the ground up to deliver pure-electric, zero-emission driving, the Mustang Mach-E blends performance with capability. It shows the very cutting edge of Ford’s EV capability and vision for the future and is one of the most exciting vehicles Ford has ever produced.

Building a better world

As Ford celebrates its 100-year heritage with employees, dealers and communities, it aspires to give people in South Africa a bridge to the future and a promise of a better world – and this idea continues to inspire its future. Accordingly, Ford has launched three major community initiatives focused on empowering youth in South Africa through education, totalling R85 million.

Ford South Africa and Ford Motor Company Fund are funding the creation of 100 Maths and Science Labs for primary schools in disadvantaged areas around the country. This project is aimed at improving education with an emphasis on the STEM subjects, comprising science, technology, engineering and maths.

Logistics company Maersk is donating 100 shipping containers for the project, which will see the containers refurbished into fully equipped laboratories by the Gift of the Givers Foundation. The team is working with the Department of Basic Education to identify the schools that will receive the maths and science labs.

Sticking with the ‘100’ and education themes, Ford South Africa is funding the establishment of 100 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres. The project is being implemented with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, with ECD centres being built to replace existing nursery schools from disadvantaged areas across South Africa that are dilapidated and not compliant with the government’s health and safety regulations. The new facilities will comprise two classrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms and a sick bay to provide a safe and conducive learning environment for the children.

Furthermore, Ford Motor Company Fund will award 100 Scholarships to highly motivated young South Africans from under-resourced and under-represented communities interested in STEM-related careers. The scholarships will focus on the mechatronics, autotronics, millwright and electrical trade fields, as well as mechatronics and transportation technicians. Beneficiaries will have the opportunity to apply for Ford South Africa’s apprenticeship program, as well as those offered by the broader industry.

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