Ford South Africa says it has reached its highest-ever installed production capacity for the Ranger and the Everest after investing some R11-billion locally over the past decade.

Investment in the global export programme kicked off in 2009, with Ford pouring more money into the expansion of Ranger production (and the local assembly of the Everest) at its Silverton facility in 2016.

“The past 10 years have seen a complete transformation of Ford’s manufacturing operations in South Africa,” said Neale Hill, managing director at Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region.

“With a total investment of R11-billion since 2009, we have progressed from a low-volume multi-vehicle business primarily serving the domestic industry to becoming a high-volume single platform manufacturer that is the Ranger production source for 148 markets globally.

“The award-winning Ranger has been the key driver of this success, with ever-growing local and international demand resulting in extensive upgrades and improvements to our facilities to significantly increase our production capacity over the years,” Hill said.

“From the installed capacity of 110 000 units when we began assembling the new-generation Ford Ranger in 2011, we now have the capacity to build 168 000 vehicles annually to meet future requirements.”

The Ranger Raptor (due to launch locally in 2019) will also be produced in South Africa.

The Struandale engine plant, meanwhile, produces 2,2- and 3,2-litre Duratorq TDCi machined components and fully assembled engines for the Ranger and Everest, along with additional engine derivatives for newly added front-wheel-drive markets in Europe for the Transit.

Installed capacity for the Duratorq TDCi programme has grown from the original 220 000 machined component sets (cylinder head, block and crankshaft) in 2011 to a planned 280 000 by the end of 2018. Engine assembly capacity increased from 75 000 to 130 000 engines per annum over the same period.

A new assembly line has also been installed for the engines that will power the updated Ranger and Everest models, including the new bi-turbo unit to be used in the Ranger Raptor. Installed capacity for the new engine assembly line is 120 000 units per year, contributing to a highest-ever combined capacity of 250 000 engines for the Port Elizabeth plant.

Year to date, Ford says some 49 600 vehicles have been shipped from SA to global customers, with this figure “set to increase significantly for the balance of 2018 and into next year”.