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Ford South Africa investing R5.2bn to produce PHEV Ranger model at Silverton plant

8th November 2023

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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On the occasion of celebrating its 100-year anniversary, automotive manufacturer Ford Motor Company South Africa (FMCSA) has announced it will start producing plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) Ranger models at its Silverton, Pretoria, manufacturing facility late next year.

The automaker is investing R5.2-billion in expanding its existing facility to accommodate the new models on the same assembly lines as the diesel and petrol vehicles, and in building a dedicated battery pack assembly facility.

Particularly, the chassis plant will be upgraded to accommodate the unique chassis configuration of the plug-in hybrid Ranger, including changes to the robots, welding equipment, control systems, conveyors and skids.

The PHEV models are destined for export to Europe, Australia and New Zealand, but Ford Middle East & Africa operations VP Ockert Berry is confident that the company will see local uptake of them as well.

He tells Engineering News that, with the South African Ford facilities already being geared up to produce Ranger vehicles, it made sense for the group to expand to PHEV Ranger production.

It will be the first time in two decades that the Silverton plant will be supplying vehicles to the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Berry adds that the plant will initially target production of 30 000 PHEV Ranger units a year and ramp up as required. The plant currently produces about 200 000 vehicles a year, comprising Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok vehicles.

The Ranger PHEV will deliver more torque than any other Ranger, owing 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 km without using a drop of fuel or producing tailpipe emissions.

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.

The latest investment in the plant adds to a total R33-billion that FMCSA has invested at its plants in Silverton, and Struanway, in Gqeberha.

Moreover, FMCSA reveals an expanded product range that will be available for purchase in the South African market within the next 18 months, including the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, a seventh-generation Mustang range that will include the most powerful naturally aspirated Mustang to date – the Mustang Dark Horse, an all-new Territory five-seater special utility vehicle and the next-generation Torneo Custom and Transit Custom models.

Additionally, Ford will soon launch two new Ranger models, Tremor and Platinum, made specially for the South African market. The Tremor is a more adventure-oriented Ranger model with added off-road functionality, while the Platinum will comprise ultimate driving comfort features.

“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,” says Ford Motor Company chief dealer engagement officer Elana Ford.

As part of the FMCSA centenary celebrations, the company has launched three new community initiatives targeted at maths and science development, early learning development and scholarships.

FMCSA and its project partners are creating 100 maths and science laboratories for primary schools around the country, as well as 100 early childhood development centres, while it will fund 100 youth scholarships to promote learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.

South Africa is the fourth country across Ford’s manufacturing portfolio to have exceeded 100 years of operations, following the US, Canada and Argentina.

The Silverton facility will also celebrate its one-millionth Ranger produced some time next year, having reached 960 000 units in October.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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