Metair has secured multiple contracts from Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) as the local arm of the US vehicle maker prepares to launch new vehicles for the local and export markets.
The new launches form part of a fresh investment and production expansion programme at Ford to meet the demands of the company’s growing export-driven business in South Africa.
Metair is a manufacturer, distributor and retailer of energy storage solutions and automotive components.
“We are delighted to expand our relationship with Ford and look forward to working with them through their new model launches and beyond as they drive their expansion programme in the long term,” says Metair CEO Theo Loock.
“The investment approved by Metair’s board to support Ford is the group’s largest to date for a single customer and we anticipate that over 3 300 jobs will be created, with the largest portion in northern KwaZulu-Natal.”
Metair’s total funding requirements are estimated at around R1.3-billion, with the capital investment in property, plant and equipment anticipated at more than R900-million.
This commitment will include the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Stanger, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
A new logistics facility will also be established in Silverton, Pretoria, where Ford’s manufacturing plant is located.
In addition to Metair’s Hesto Harnesses, which will be the largest beneficiary in supplying a wide range of wire harnesses to Ford, a number of other subsidiaries will also benefit, including Unitrade, Automould and Lumotech, which will provide a variety of wires, plastic and chrome-plated parts, as well as headlights and taillights.
“Metair is a great example of a local company that has made huge strides in the international automotive sector, and we will continue to support industries that drive technology and skills transfer, but also create employment opportunities over the long term,” notes Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel.
“Metair’s Automotive Components Vertical is entering an important investment phase to support [vehicle manufacturers] that will drive our future growth and support South Africa,” adds Loock.
“The anticipated supply of the full spectrum of components to a range of new customers, including Ford, will see Metair securing between R25-billion and R28 -billion of turnover over the model life from mid-2022, depending on the final project volumes and launch dates.
“We believe that the investments we are making now will strengthen Metair’s position as the shift towards localisation accelerates in light of the inevitable structural global trade disruptions resulting from Covid-19.”
“The outlook for the South African automotive industry remains positive with [vehicle manufacturers] and component manufacturers investing significant capital to expand their facilities for model changes and additional models,” notes National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers of South Africa executive director Renai Moothilal.
“This major commitment by both Ford and Metair towards the South African automotive manufacturing sector is a welcome development that is aligned with South African Automotive Masterplan 2035, and its emphasis on increased localisation and market growth whilst participating in this global industry.”
Ford has not yet provided details on its expansion plans in South Africa.