Ford Motor Company is investing R2.5-billion ($170 million US dollars) to expand operations in South Africa at its Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, South Africa, to produce the all-new Ford Everest, along with the new Ford Ranger that was launched at the end of last year.
This investment will create approximately 1 200 new jobs at Ford South Africa and within the South African supplier network. "Our customers love the capability and utility offered by the all-new Ford Everest," said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa. "By producing the Everest in South Africa, we will be able to make it more readily available, and in a greater variety of models, for customers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
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 Plant features state-of-the-art automation utilising Ford's global manufacturing processes, and will be equipped to produce 10 000 Everest's per annum. "The all-new Everest has been extremely well received since it was launched in September last year, with demand far outstripping supply," said Jeff Nemeth, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region.
"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.
Built at Ford's Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth, the latest-generation Duratorq TDCi diesel engines - which are also used in the new Ranger - offer maximum fuel economy along with exceptional performance.
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.
"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 concluded.