Pretoria – After 11 years and 873 751 units the last of the current generation Ford Ranger rolled off the Silverton assembly plant on 10 November.
It’s not the end of the Ranger mind you, but the beginning of a new chapter as Ford prepares to assemble the next generation Ranger following a R15.8-billion investment to modernise and expand local operations which will see it being launched in early December.
Local production of the current Ranger was the result of an initial 2009 investment of R3.4-billion in the plant and the Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha to supply the domestic market and more than 100 global markets. By 2018, the total investment in South Africa for the Ranger program had increased to R11-billion. This facilitated extensive upgrades, the implementation of new technologies and the capacity of the Silverton plant being expanded in 2016 and again two years later to serve the strong local and international demand for the Ranger.
“Our locally assembled Ford Ranger has been a huge success in South Africa and internationally, having completely redefined the pick-up segment when it was launched in 2011 and it continued to set benchmarks over the ensuing 11 years,” said Ockert Berry, VP Operations at Ford South Africa. “Ranger not only placed South Africa on the map as a global production and export hub, but also played an important role in expanding the domestic automotive manufacturing sector.”
Of the 873 751 Rangers built more than two-thirds have been supplied to export markets and more than 271 000 found local owners.
“We shipped nearly 603 000 current-generation Rangers to customers around the world, which has consistently positioned the Ranger as South Africa’s leading light commercial vehicle export,” said Tim Day, Plant Manager of the Silverton assembly plant. “This is a significant achievement for our local operations, our employees and our suppliers as an integral part of Ford’s global manufacturing network.”
With innovative marketing and upgrades Ford ensured that the Ranger remained contemporary throughout its lifespan with its 2.0-litre single turbo and bi-turbo engines paired to its 10-speed automatic gearbox.
In 2019 another milestone was reached with the announcement that the plant would be producing the high performance Ranger Raptor as well.
The new Raptor is now being built in Thailand while the Silverton plant focuses exclusively on the new Ranger after the R15.8-billion upgrades that makes the plant capable of producing 200 000 vehicles a year.
“This brings Ford’s total investment in South Africa to more than R27 billion over the past 13 years, which signifies our unequivocal commitment to the country,” Berry added. “It has also given us the platform to promote economic development and create much-needed job opportunities. We are extremely proud to support 5 500 jobs at Ford South Africa and around 60 000 jobs in the supply chain, while contributing more than one percent to South Africa’s total GDP.”
Over the years the Ranger earned many accolades including the International Pick-up Award (IPUA) in 2013 and again in 2020 from the International Van of the Year jury and Car Magazine’s Top 12 Best Buys in the popular double cab segment for an unprecedented 11 consecutive years.
“The latest investment program and imminent launch of the new Ranger represents a major leap forward for us, not only due to the higher volumes but also by virtue of the state-of-the-art technologies and quality controls that have been introduced throughout our production facilities,” Day concluded.