Ford to create 1,200 new SA jobs

Ford SA introduces third shift for Silverton plant to meet growing demand for new Ranger

17 July 2019 - 17:18 By Reuters/Motoring Reporter
Starting from August, Ford's Silverton assembly plant will run around the clock using a three-shift pattern.
Starting from August, Ford's Silverton assembly plant will run around the clock using a three-shift pattern.
Image: Supplied

The South African unit of Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it would hire an additional 1,200 staff at one of its local assembly plants, an increase of more than 25 percent, to add an extra shift and raise production.

The additional shift, which commences in August this year, is to meet the growing international and local demand for the New Ranger, Ranger Raptor and Everest.

The additional shift, which will increase production to 720 vehicles per day, is the result of a R3bn investment in SA that was announced in 2017, aimed at increasing annual production to 168,000 units.

The US-owned company currently employs about 4,300 people in SA, at the Silverton plant in Pretoria, which will add the extra shift, and at another site in Port Elizabeth.

"The third shift will allow us to ramp up our production from the current 506 vehicles assembled per day to a peak of 720 units to satisfy the strong demand from customers in South Africa, as well as for our crucial exports to 148 markets around the world," Ockert Berry, vice president of operations for Ford Middle East and Africa said in a statement.

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“The investment enabled extensive reworks at the Silverton Assembly Plant to expand our production capacity from 124 000 vehicles per year to 168 000 units, which is 58,000 vehicles more than our original capacity when the current Ranger programme commenced in 2011,” Berry said. 

Ford joins a number of other global carmakers in ramping up production on the continent, which promises rapid growth at the same time as trade tensions and upsets like the UK's departure from the EU threaten their operations elsewhere.

The South African arm of Japanese carmaker Nissan also announced a similarly sized investment earlier this year, increasing production at its local plant by 30,000 units, while BMW production chief Oliver Zipse said earlier this month that it had moved some production from the UK as a result of Brexit, and that British plants no longer built South African components.

Around a third of Ford's local production is sold in South Africa and other sub-Saharan African countries, with the rest exported elsewhere.

The SA-built Ranger is ranked as the top-selling bakkie in Europe and the second ranked in SA and leads light commercial vehicle exports.

The plant in Port Elizabeth produces 120,000 diesel engines per year for the Silverton plant, as well as 130,000 units per year for export to North America, China and Europe and 280,000 component sets per year.