Ford has invested another R600 million in South Africa, with its latest investment going into a third engine program and upgrades to the company’s Struandale engine plant in the Eastern Cape port city of Gqeberha (before Port Elizabeth).
Ford South Africa vice president of operations Ockert Berry said Thursday that the investment in the engine plant is in addition to the group’s R15.8 billion investment in the Silverton assembly plant and supplier tooling that it announced in February. this year to support production of the next-generation Ford Ranger.
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The Ford Silverton plant is upping its game
Ford and its suppliers invest R20.13 billion in South Africa
Berry said that through its latest investment, Ford SA is introducing a third diesel engine at the Struandale plant: the new 3.0L V6 turbo diesel engine that will power select next-generation Ranger models when production begins in 2022.
“Most of the investment will go towards expanding and modernizing the current assembly line that produces the existing 2.2L and 3.2L Duratorq TDCi engines since 2011, with 792,000 engines assembled to date,” he said.
Established in 1964, the Struandale Engine Plant (currently employing 850 people) has since produced 10 different engine types.
Ford Struandale Engine Plant Manager Shawn Govender said the plant has produced more than 3.81 million engines to date.
Berry also revealed that Ford SA and the government are in talks about new phases of the Tshwane Special Automotive Economic Zone (TASEZ) adjacent to the Silverton plant.
“We are already busy working on phase two of this development. Unfortunately, we ran out of space. There are many more providers who want to move and we have a lot of knocks on the door to provide more space, ”he said.
Of the total investment of R15.8 billion in South Africa related to the new generation Ranger, R10.3 billion is being invested in the Silverton assembly plant, R5.5 billion in supplier tools, which is focused on improve the quality and flow of vehicles through the plant and R4.3 billion from 14 suppliers at TASEZ.
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The investment in the plant will increase the installed capacity to 200,000 vehicles per year, with approximately two-thirds exported to the world market, especially to Europe.
Around 8,700 jobs will be created during the construction of the first phase of TASEZ, with an estimated 2,100 new jobs created for operations in the area.
“This shows what can be done if industry and government start to [together] and oversee how it’s done, ”Berry said.
He added that the land for the second phase of TASEZ has already been allocated by the government for that purpose.
“So that’s a done deal. We know where we can go and what size is available.
“Now we are working on what are the key priorities for phase two because even with that, it will not be enough. Phase three will also be required.
“We are working right now with the government on what are the top 10 key installations that we require in phase two and then they plan to start with that … [are] no blockers or anything [to phase two] and I think we are going to start cleaning and construction to have teams in phase two for next year, “he said.
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Berry noted that only one of TASEZ’s 14 suppliers had relocated and the others are all new suppliers to Ford SA.
“The key point of our agenda was not to move jobs in the country, but to create new jobs and only then will we be willing to put them in the TASEZ, otherwise we are deceiving ourselves if we transfer jobs from another place “, said. .
He added that the new providers will have a positive impact on local content in the new generation of Ranger.
Berry isn’t sure what the level of local content will be in the new generation Ranger when it launches in 2022, but stressed that Ford SA will make sure it is above the 60% local content threshold.
He said Ford SA is pushing to increase local content and the next phases of TASEZ are part of that momentum.
Returning to the investment in the engine plant, Berry noted that the plant will have an annual installed capacity of 21,000 units of the 3.0L V6 turbo diesel engine when production begins in the middle of next year.
He said the combined installed capacity for this line is 130,000 engines per year, although it has been designed to allow the split between the two engine programs to be adjusted based on future demand.
“The investment program includes new equipment, as well as re-equipment, upgrade and redeployment of existing machining operations for the cylinder head,” he added.
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Govender said machining of Duratorq TDCi cylinder head, block and crankshaft components has exceeded 6.86 million units, or nearly 2.3 million component sets.
Of these, 4.2 million components or 1.4 million sets have been exported to Thailand and Argentina, he said.
Berry said that in addition to the new 3.0L V6 engine program, Ford SA is modernizing and further enhancing the existing assembly line for 2.0L Single Turbo and 2.0L Bi-Turbo engines to accommodate design changes for the upcoming Ranger generation.
“The updates being introduced to this assembly line will facilitate further complexity with the introduction of additional derivatives of the 2.0-liter diesel engines, increasing the current nine derivatives to 13 when production of the next-generation Ranger begins in 2022. .
“This will be supported by a shift from current production from two shifts to 2.5 shifts, increasing the 320 engines produced per day when we launched this program to 445 units per day to meet the significant local and international demand for the Ranger,” he said. said.
Installed production capacity for this assembly line remains at 120,000 units per year, Berry added.