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02 Feb 2021 | 11:23

Ford to invest $1bn to upgrade South Africa operations

(Sharecast News) - Ford announced on Tuesday that it would invest around $1bn in upgrading its South Africa operations and would create 1,200 jobs in the process of doing so. The investment is the biggest in Ford's 97-year history in South Africa. It also represents one of the largest-ever investments in the South African automotive industry in general, the company said in a statement.

The funds are set to go to new advanced technologies and systems that will modernise and grow the Ford Silverton Assembly Plant to support expanded production of the all-new Ranger pickup truck, starting in 2022.

With the new hires for the expansion, it will bring the total workforce of the company in South Africa to 5,500 employees. The investment also will create an estimated 10,000 new jobs across Ford's local supplier network.

The investment will raise the annual installed capacity of the Silverton plant to 200,000 vehicles from 168,000, for domestic sales and export to more than 100 global markets.

The improvements in the plant will include the construction of a new body shop with the latest robotic technology and a new high-tech stamping plant, both of which will be located on-site for the first time. Both facilities will modernize and streamline the integrated manufacturing process at Silverton while contributing to higher quality and reducing overall cost and waste.

Extensive upgrades also will be made to the box line, paint shop and final assembly to improve vehicle flow within the plant, along with the expansion of the container and vehicle yards.

Ford will also build new vehicle modification and training centres - the latter developed to ensure all Ford employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to maximize the efficiencies of the enhanced Silverton facilities.

"This investment will further modernize our South African operations, helping them to play an even more important role in the turnaround and growth of our global automotive operations, as well as our strategic alliance with Volkswagen," said Dianne Craig, president, Ford's International Markets Group. "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."
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