Silverton assembly plant gears up to roll out new Ford Ranger

While South Africans are anticipating the arrival of the new Ford Ranger, the Blue Oval is working around the clock in finalising the new bakkie’s production line.

The new Ranger, built at Ford’s assembly plant in Thailand, is already available in markets like Australia, but South Africans will have to wait for full-scale production to start at the Silverton assembly plant. The plant is in the final stages of a significant upgrade after receiving a R15.8-billion investment

A further R600-million investment was made to upgrade the Struandale engine plant in Gqeberha that produces powerplants for the Ford Ranger.

The engine plant will produce a new 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine alongside the 2.0-litre single and bi-turbo engines and 2.2-litre and 3.2-litre Duratorq mills.

Large-scale upgrades

“Around R10.3 billion has gone directly into our Ford operations, including our first in-house stamping plant, a completely new body shop, and the total transformation of our trim, chassis and final line,” says Ockert Berry, Vice-President of Operations at Ford South Africa.

“We have also built our own frame line in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone adjacent to the plant, which is the only Ford-owned and operated facility of its kind in the world.”

The stamping plant is a first for Ford in South Africa. It measures 10 320 square metres and features five tandem presses which stamp flat metal sheets into various inner and outer body panels.

An aerial view of the Silverton assembly plant where the Ford Ranger is built.

Once completed, the plant will be capable of producing up the 200 000 units of the new Ford Ranger annually for the local market and export to over 100 countries.

It will build left and right-hand drive Ford Rangers in single cab, extended cab and double cab body styles, but not Everests. The new Everest, expected to be launched locally after the new Ranger, will be imported from Thailand.

First models of new Ford Ranger

While the plant is still building the current Ford Ranger, a variety of next-generation models have been produced in South African specification for testing purposes. These are referred to as tooling trial (TT) units and pre-empts preproduction models.

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“We have been encouraged by the quality of the components and vehicles produced during this initial TT phase, which has justified the scale of our investment and the mammoth job it required in building completely new facilities, as well as revamping our entire assembly line while continuing to build the current Ranger,” Berry adds.

“We are about to commence with our pre-production runs in preparation for launch later this year, and look forward to getting the amazing next-gen Ford Ranger out to our customers in South Africa and around the world.”

Silverton plant by the numbers

20: The tons every square metre of the Silverton stamping plant flooring is constructed to support30: The tons of excess steel removed from the stamping plant every day from the 272 tons that enter the facility493: The total number of robots in the body shop920: How many shipping containers carrying parts are currently stacked in the holding yard2 500: The pressure in tons the stamping plant’s draw press is capable of exerting7 070: How many different parts are used on the new Ford Ranger assembly line26 806: The total number of vehicle combinations the plant can build30 226: The number of solar panels in the plant’s parking terrain, which provide shade for 3 610 vehicles

For more information on the new Ford Ranger, visit the manufacturer’s website.

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