The Ford Motor Company is investing R5.2 billion (US$272 million) into its South African operations to create the first-ever Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).
The investment will be made at the group’s Silverton Assembly Plant to produce the PHEV in late 2024.
The new investment incorporates a new battery pack assembly plant for the Silverton Plant. Ford’s Chassis Plant in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) is also being updated to accommodate the unique chassis configuration of the model.
In addition, the vehicle assembly operations are being changed to accommodate the Ranger Plug-in hybrid, especially the Trim, Chassis and Final TCF line, including changes to the handling equipment, turnover fixtures, charging systems, and new repair area.
“The additional investment in the Silverton Assembly Plant for the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid takes our total manufacturing investment in South Africa over the past 14 years to around $1.72 billion, or nearly R33 billion,” said Andrea Cavallaro, Operations director, Ford International Markets Group.
“It signals our commitment to the country, our employees and our extensive supplier network.”
Ford currently employs 5,200 people in South Africa, and its total local operations contribute over 1% to South Africa’s GDP.
The Silverton Assembly Plant can produce 720 vehicles daily, and the new Plug-in Hybrid will be exported to Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
The Ranger Plug-in Hybrid also has more torque than other Rangers due to its 2.3-litre Ford EcoBoost turbo petrol engine paired with an electric motor and rechargeable battery system, which allows it to drive in pure electric mode for over 45 kilometres.
In addition, the group announced that several new vehicles will be sold in South Africa.
This includes the new Ranger Tremor – for challenging off-road conditions – and the Ranger Platinum – which mixes luxury and the toughness needed for a bakkie.
The group is also bringing the Tourneo Custom and Transit Custom vans to South Africa in 2024, while the Ford Territory is expected to become a new challenger in the growing SUV segment.
The group added that it will be bringing in the all-new Mustang and Mustang Dark Horse, with the latter the most powerful naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 Mustang ever.
Ford added that it will also launch the fully-electric Mustang Mach-E in 2025.
“Mach-E represents a landmark moment for us as it shows our commitment to a cleaner, greener and electric future in South Africa, symbolizing Ford’s vision for a better tomorrow globally,” Kay Hart, president, Ford International Markets Group, said.