Ford to build new Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok in South Africa

1 year, 11 months ago - 5 February 2021, autocar
Ford to build new Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok in South Africa
Silverton will build next Ranger and platform-sharing Volkswagen Amarok, creating more than 10,000 jobs

Ford is expanding its operations in South Africa, making its largest ever investment in the country to the tune of $1.05 billion (roughly £0.77bn).

The sum will be invested in Ford's factory in Silverton to prepare it to produce the new Ranger pick-up truck and the closely related Volkswagen Amarok next year, improving its environmental credentials and increasing its annual capacity from 168,000 to 200,000 vehicles.

To achieve this enhanced capacity, Ford will hire 1200 new workers at Silverton, bringing its South African workforce to 5500 as well as creating around 10,000 new jobs in the plant's supply chains.

The American firm will also spend $686 million (£503 million) upgrading the plant's infrastructure. The upgrades include a new on-site robot-equipped body shop and stamping plant, box line and paint shop improvements and the addition of new vehicle modification and training centres.

The president of Ford's International Markets Group, Dianne Craig, said: "The Ranger is one of our highest-volume, most successful global vehicles. This investment will equip our team with the tools and facilities to deliver the best Ford Ranger ever, in higher numbers and with superior quality."

While the 2022 Ranger will be Silverton's main focus, produced for the domestic market and exported to the UK, the plant will also produce the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok. Both pick-ups are being developed together in a partnership between the two companies that's said to greatly improve economies of scale.

Ford and Volkswagen confirmed a wide-ranging global alliance last year, whereby the two will join forces to develop commercial vehicles and pick-ups, including a Ford EV built on the Volkswagen Group's MEB platform.

Silverton's carbon footprint is also an important focus. As well as production line upgrades, Ford's investment will fund construction of 4200 solar-equipped car ports, with further environment-saving innovations earmarked for the future.

Andrea Cavallaro, Ford's director of operations, said: "Our aim is to achieve 'island mode', taking the Silverton Assembly Plant completely off the grid, becoming entirely energy self-sufficient and carbon-neutral by 2024."