Ford have announced they are investing a total of R15.8 billion into its South African manufacturing operations.
This marks the biggest investment in the company’s 97 year history in South Africa, and also represents one of the largest-ever investments into the South African automotive industry.
Ford made this announcement at a media event with President Cyril Ramaphosa in attendance, and highlighted that this investment is expected to generate revenues exceeding 1.1% of the country’s GDP.
The upgrades to the Silverton plant will allow an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles – up from 168,000 – and will focus on production of the new Ford Ranger for both the domestic and export markets.
VW bakkies will now also be manufactured here as part of the Ford-VW strategic alliance.
The overall investment includes R10.3 billion for extensive upgrades to the Silverton plant which will increase production volume and efficiency, while improving vehicle quality.
Along with this, they will also build new vehicle modification and training centres – to ensure that all employees are knowledgeable in new technologies.
The aim for this new plant is for the company to achieve “island mode” – which aligns with the company’s global target of using 100% locally-sourced renewable energy for all its manufacturing plants by 2035 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The company will invest R5.5 billion of the total investment into upgrading tooling at its major supplier factories.
“As part of our extensive investment in the Silverton plant, we also are building a new Ford-owned and operated chassis line in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) for this new vehicle programme,” said Ockert Berry, vice president of operations for Ford South Africa.
As a result, the company will develop a rail network which will link the Silverton assembly plant to Ford’s Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth.
The Gauteng Province-Eastern Cape high capacity rail freight corridor will channel all of Ford’s inbound and outbound logistics exclusively through Port Elizabeth to support the higher production volumes.
Ford predicts that this investment will help create 1,200 incremental jobs in South Africa, increasing the local workforce to 5,500 employees, and adding an estimated 10,000 new jobs across the local supplier network, bringing the total to 60,000.