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Ford Ranger tops exports, builds momentum for launch of next-gen models due later this year

Home Manufacturing & Processing Automotive Ford Ranger tops exports, builds momentum for launch of next-gen models due...

THE current Ford Ranger pick-up was the leading vehicle export from South Africa in September 2022, with 9 829 units shipped from Ford’s Silverton assembly plant to customers in more than 100 markets around the world.

It is the highest export volume for the year, surpassing the 8 595 units exported in June 2022. Combined with domestic sales of 1 604 units, the total Ranger volume for September reached 11 433 units.

“It’s encouraging to see that global demand for the current Ranger remains high even during its run-out phase, and despite the challenges we have faced over the past two years,” says executive sales operations director, Dhiren Vanmali.

“The global automotive industry remains severely constrained due to the ongoing chip shortage and the lingering disruption to shipping logistics as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Vanmali says. “Accordingly, our operations have been hampered by numerous supply constraints throughout this year, and our production facilities haven’t been able to run at full capacity.

“However, the situation is improving thanks to the hard work and dedication of our purchasing, manufacturing and logistics teams as well as our supplier network, and this is reflected in our export results for September,” Vanmali says. “It bodes well for the upcoming and exciting launch of our next-gen Ranger which remains on track for the end of the fourth quarter this year.”

Ford invested R15,8 billion in its Silverton Assembly Plant operations and supplier tooling for the next-gen Ranger. This included the construction of an all-new high-tech body shop, an on-site stamping plant and the only Ford-owned frame line in the world, located in the adjacent Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ). Furthermore, all of the existing manufacturing facilities were modernised and upgraded to deliver world-class quality. It also facilitated the highest-ever installed capacity for the Silverton assembly plant, which is now capable of producing up to 200 000 vehicles per year.

An additional R600 million was invested in the Struandale engine plant in Gqeberha for the launch of the new 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine that will power the range-topping next-gen Ranger models. It also introduced updated versions of the current 2.0-litre single turbo and bi-turbo engines that are assembled at the Struandale plant and will be the mainstay of the new Ranger line-up.

“We’ve seen exceptional interest from our local and global customers for the game-changing next-gen Ranger, and I have no doubt that the significant investments made in our South African operations will once again help us redefine the pick-up segment with unrivalled quality, capability and technology that will enhance our customers’ lives,” Vanmali says.

Ford has also received unprecedented customer interest in the next-gen Everest, as well as in the powerful next-gen Ranger Raptor that will be launched in the first quarter of 2023. With the Silverton assembly plant expanding its Ranger production, the next-gen Everest and Ranger Raptor are now fully imported from Thailand instead of being locally assembled, as was the case with the outgoing range.

“The initial reviews of the new Everest have confirmed our assertion that this versatile and extremely capable new model raises the bar in the sports utility vehicle segment. The media have highlighted the great performance of the new 3.0 L V6 diesel engine in the Everest Platinum, the extensive array of driver assistance technologies, as well as the luxury and quality as some of the most impressive aspects of the new Everest,” Vanmali says.

The new Ranger Raptor is set to take the peerless performance of the current model to even greater heights, most notably replacing the current 2.0 L bi-turbo diesel engine with a 292 kW 3.0 L twin-turbo petrol engine, matched to an even more advanced suspension and drivetrain. “Our new Ranger Raptor has ignited an even more fervent following amongst customers,” Vanmali says.

“With both of these vehicles produced in Thailand, we are unfortunately impacted by the global supply and logistics constraints that are limiting our delivery capacity,” Vanmali says. “Our teams are working to accelerate the vehicle arrivals and get them to dealers and customers as soon as possible. We are confident that the next-gen Everest and Raptor Ranger will live up to expectations for the customers that have reserved a new vehicle.”

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