Ford says it was South Africa’s leading exporter of bakkies in 2019, with some 65 908 units of the Ranger leaving local shores over the course of the year.

By our maths, that's 2 456 units down on the firm's export effort in 2018.

The Blue Oval brand says its “nearest rival” – that'd be the Toyota Hilux – was some 16 402 units behind in the export race in 2019. The news comes after Toyota SA Motors said its Hilux grabbed back SA's double-cab bakkie sales crown in 2019, claiming a 33 percent share of the segment.

Ford’s local arm says it enjoyed “strong demand” from Europe, where the Ranger notched up its best-ever sales tally of some 52 500 vehicles. The Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria ships the bakkie to more than 100 global markets.

“Since we began building the current-generation Ranger in 2011, 400 000 units have been exported around the world,” said Ockert Berry, vice-president for operations at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“Locally assembled Rangers are exported to the Sub-Saharan Africa region, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and several other countries, which positions our domestic operations on a truly global scale.

“Along with domestic sales having surpassed 225 000 Rangers to date, we are on track to build our 700 000th Ranger in 2020,” Berry added.

Since April 2019, Ford has employed a “multi-port strategy” with Rangers being exported to markets in Europe through Port Elizabeth. This step, says Ford, was taken to address the “significant congestion” at Durban harbour.

“We shipped almost 7 000 vehicles through Port Elizabeth in 2019, and as global demand grows, having a multi-port export strategy will be increasingly beneficial,” Berry said.