The local arm of Ford Motor Company has announced that it will introduce a third shift to the production line at its Silverton Assembly plant in Pretoria to “meet the growing international and local demand” for its Ranger and Ranger Raptor bakkies, plus the Everest SUV.

According to the firm, the extra shift, which will commence in August 2019, will create an additional 1 200 jobs, increasing Ford Motor Company South Africa’s total contingent to “approximately” 5 500 employees.

“In addition to the job opportunities created for hourly employees, the new shift makes provision for 104 skilled artisans and technicians who have been appointed as permanent employees,” Ockert Berry, vice president of operations Ford Middle East and Africa, said.

In 2017, Ford Motor Company made a R3 billion investment in the Pretoria-based plant, which upped production capacity significantly. Ford says 168 000 units leave the Silverton assembly line per year, of which two thirds are exported to 148 countries.

“The third shift will allow us to ramp up our production from the current 506 vehicles assembled per day to a peak of 720 units to satisfy the strong demand from customers in South Africa, as well as for our crucial exports to 148 markets around the world,” Berry said.

Ford Motor Company’s continued investment in the local plant reached R11 billion between 2009 and 2018. According to the automaker, its local turnover accounts for 1% of South Africa’s GDP.