Ford has announced it is adding a third shift and increasing production capacity at the Silverton Assembly plant in South Africa as a result of growing demand for the facelifted Ranger and the Ranger Raptor.
The rise in demand comes mainly from Europe, where Ranger sales set a year-to-date record in Ford’s 20 European markets (Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland).
In the second quarter of 2019, the automaker sold 13,000 units, up 8.2 percent compared with the second quarter 2018. Ranger sales in the first half of 2019 reached 26,700, the highest level since the truck was first introduced in the region in 1999. According to the latest data available from the end of May 2019, the Ford Ranger is Europe’s best-selling pickup with 30.4 percent market share.
This is obviously great news for South Africa’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria where the Ranger and Ranger Raptor are built for European markets. The factory has been upgraded to a production capacity of up to 168,000 vehicles a year, its highest ever. A third shift will be added from early August, creating 1,200 new jobs including 104 skilled artisans and technicians.
The facility builds both Ranger trucks and Everest SUVs, with the latter being built both for the domestic market and markets in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The R3 billion ($216 million) investment in our South African plants, announced in 2017, is now coming to fruition with the addition of a third shift to increase our production output,” said Ockert Berry, Vice President Operations, Ford Middle East and Africa.
“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 program commenced in 2011,” the representative added.
With the addition of a third shift, production will increase from 506 vehicles a day to 720 units to satisfy the strong demand from South Africa and 148 export markets around the world, including European countries.