Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa has announced an expansion of operations at its Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth, where it will start building an all-new diesel engine set to be used in the new Ranger Raptor.
The news comes after the late-2017 announcement of Ford’s increased investment in its two South African plants.
“We are delighted to confirm that, as part of the R3-billion investment announced in November 2017, we are expanding both the capability and capacity of the Struandale engine plant for our current and future engine programmes,” said Jacques Brent, President of Ford Middle East and Africa.
“The investment includes the installation of a sophisticated new assembly line for an all-new diesel engine programme that will, most notably, power the exciting new Ford Ranger Raptor when it is launched in 2019,” Brent added.
The Ranger Raptor will be powered by a twin-turbo 2,0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, producing 157 kW and 500 N.m. Scheduled to launch in South Africa in 2019, the new Ranger Raptor will be produced both in Thailand and at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, South Africa.
“At the same time, we are boosting capacity for the current Duratorq TDCi engine that is used in the Ford Ranger and Everest, with new derivatives and additional European markets being introduced for the local operations,” he said.
Ford says the new diesel engine assembly hall is located in a "totally revamped" 3 868 m2 section of the Struandale engine plant. A new 5 418 m2 warehouse has also been built at the plant, designed to house all the required parts, components and tools on-site to maximise production efficiency for the two engine programmes.
Eight derivatives of the new engine will be assembled in Struandale when production officially commences in the fourth quarter of 2018. The new assembly line has an installed capacity of 120 000 engines per annum.
In addition, the Blue Oval brand says that the current component machining and assembly lines for the Duratorq TDCi engine, which has been produced locally since 2011 for the Ranger and Everest, are also being expanded.
“Our upgrades for the Duratorq TDCi programme add incremental volumes, with 22 new four-cylinder engine derivatives to be exported to European markets, including for use in front-wheel drive Ford models,” Brent said.
“This introduces three significant new customers for the Struandale engine plant, comprising Italy, Turkey and Russia.”
Ford says that, ultimately, Struandale will become the home of all Duratorq TDCi engine component machining for the Ranger, Everest and Transit, along with expanded engine assembly in conjunction with current operations at Ford plants in Thailand and Argentina.
“This places our South African business in a central role within the global Ford network, and reaffirms our commitment to developing the automotive industry within the local market, and in the broader Middle East and Africa region,” Brent said.
With the additional 2,2-litre engine derivatives coming on line from the fourth quarter of 2018, the Struandale plant will be assembling a total of 56 variants of the Duratorq TDCi engine.
Installed capacity for the Duratorq TDCi programme is set to increase from the current 254 000 machined component sets (cylinder head, block and crankshaft) to 280 000, while assembly capacity will grow from 115 000 to 130 000 engines per annum.