Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa has announced that the 500 000th example of its current-generation Ranger has rolled off the line at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, just short of seven years after production started.

The milestone bakkie is a 3,2-litre double-cab in Wildtrak guise, painted in the familiar “Pride Orange” hue.

“The current Ford Ranger has been a remarkable success story for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, and we are delighted to have reached the 500 000 mark for this vehicle programme,” said Ockert Berry, vice-president of operations for Ford Middle East and Africa.

“Ford invested more than R3-billion in our local operations for the launch of the Ranger in 2011 to cater for the South African market and exports to over 148 markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We followed this up with a further R3-billion investment in 2017 to further expand our production capacity to meet the growing worldwide demand for the Ranger,” Berry said.

“This reaffirms our role as an integral part of Ford’s global manufacturing network with world-class operations at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, and at the Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth which produces the Duratorq TDCi engines for the Ranger.

“Early next year, we are set to launch the first-ever Ford Ranger Raptor, which will add an exciting new chapter to the Ranger’s proud legacy in South Africa and across the region,” Berry said.

In 2019, an updated version of the Ranger is scheduled to launch locally, bringing a new engine, updated styling and bolstered safety credentials.

Ford says the Ranger achieved its highest-ever domestic sales figure of 3 333 units in July 2017, while 8 062 units were exported from Silverton in April 2018. The Blue Oval brand adds that its bakkie is the “undisputed leader in the increasingly popular double-cab segment in South Africa”.