• Jan 31, 2008
click above for more images of the current Ranger sold outside the US

While recent times haven't been rosy for Ford here in the States, business is much better for the Dearborn, MI automaker overseas. To keep blue skies in foreign markets, Ford is ponying up $209 million in South Africa for both a new truck plant and diesel engine plant that will produce the replacement for the automaker's overseas-only Thailand-sourced Ranger. Neither the truck nor its diesel engine will reach our shores, but both will be available in many markets abroad. Part of the big investment will cover training existing employees, and eventually adding 500 valuable jobs by 2011.

It's good to see that Ford is committed to investing money in markets where growth is happening. In fact, happy go lucky CEO Allen Mulally went so far to say that he expects Ford will one day achieve two thirds of its global sales outside our proud borders. Nevertheless, we wonder what the reasons are now that this new Ranger could not have been developed with the North American market also in mind. Our current Ranger pickup continues to wilt on the vine, and we pester automakers for a truly small pickup (diesel, please) that can do a little bit of work while not punishing the earth in its wake.

[Source: Detroit News via Ford]



PRESS RELEASE

Ford of Southern Africa to Invest More Than R1.5 Billion for New Global Export Program

Manufacturing will be realigned by 2011 to produce next generation small pickup

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) today announced plans to invest more than R 1.5 billion to expand operations for the production of Ford's next-generation compact pickup truck and Puma diesel engine. The investment will commence in 2009 and be split between its assembly plant in Silverton, Pretoria and engine facility in Struandale, Port Elizabeth. Production of the new diesel engine is scheduled to begin in 2010, followed by production of the new pickup in 2011.

The investment and new manufacturing contract will transform FMCSA's current production landscape to enhance South Africa's significance as a strategic export base for vehicles, engines and components for Ford Motor Company. Plans call for the Silverton, Waltloo plant to transition from its current production, to a high-volume, flexible single platform line that will accommodate the new pickup.

The investment will increase total annual capacity at the Silverton plant to 110,000 units, with approximately three-quarters of the vehicles being produced for export, primarily to markets in Africa and Europe. The Struandale Engine Plant will increase annual production for its next-generation, turbocharged common-rail Puma diesel engine and components to approximately 180,000 units, with the majority being exported.

"Winning this investment is a major achievement for everyone at FMCSA, as well as our partners in government, NUMSA, and our local suppliers, and highlights our strategic position within the future global footprint of Ford Motor Company," explained Hal Feder, president and CEO of FMCSA. "It also underscores Ford's ongoing commitment to expanding our operations in South Africa."

As part of the investment, FMSCA plans to continue working with the South African government to accelerate and enhance human resources training and development of the auto industry's current and future workforce to ensure they possess the necessary skills required to support the launch.

Both Ford and government recently reconfirmed their full commitment to future growth and development of the South African vehicle manufacturing and associated industries. This included an agreement of strategic objectives to develop worker skills, improve supply base capabilities, and accelerate the transformation of black economic empowerment.

"It's critical for the South African government to continue to support initiatives that help foster a strong and globally competitive auto industry - one that is prepared to capitalize on future opportunities and realize the potential for growth and success," asserted Feder. "We'll also continue to work closely with NUMSA to ensure there is total alignment and commitment to deliver the cost competitiveness and world-class quality and safety standards that have attracted this investment."

The transition of FMCSA operations over the next few years will have no immediate impact on the workforce size, which currently totals nearly 4,500 employees between its two manufacturing facilities. However, FMCSA expects to hire up to 500 additional employees by the time the realigned production kicks off in 2011.

Local suppliers to FMCSA stand to benefit from the expanded capacity, as increased local content will be sourced to meet increased production and output. FMCSA currently achieves about 35 percent local content, which will improve to more than 60 percent when production begins. Working with roughly 110 different South African suppliers, annual spending on local components will increase from an estimated R 441 million each year to approximately R 2.9 billion.

"The magnitude of this project is indicative of how South Africa can benefit from having a globally competitive auto industry. In addition to the direct implications to FMCSA, this investment will have a multiplier effect with indirect job creation for local suppliers, and overall economic benefits from increased demand of locally produced content," said Feder.

FMCSA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, and first set up operations in South Africa in 1923.




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  • 19 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Looks like it's just a Mazda BT-50 with a Ford styled grill and bumper cover
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is the Truck I've been waiting for...but will not see in the USA. She looks really nice and would buy it in a heartbeat.

      FORD in USA sucks!!! Pull your heads outta your butt and bring the good cars and trucks here....guess I'll have to buy something else.

      • 7 Years Ago
      So, here we are with Ford continuing to loose money hand over fist and pledging to rationalize vehicle platforms globally to be more competitive, less wasteful, etc.

      Then they decide, hey, let's build a new small truck in a new (to this product, at least) factory and only use it in some parts of the world while the US progenitor of this product whithers and dies for lack of new news and improvements.

      Does this smack of the same silliness that has kept the US dogged with the withering and unimpressive "new-old" Focus while Europe gets a competitive and much improved version?

      GM is beginning to show some sense in this arena with good Opel designs being brought to the US, virtually unchanged, as Saturns.

      It'll be interesting to see if Ford can still argue Americans aren't interested in a small diesel pickup if the Mahindra pickups prove successful.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This isn't a small pickup. For non-US standards, the ranger is fairly large. Down here small (half ton) pickups are typically Ford Bantums, or Opel Corsa Backies. Now seeing either of those on the roads of America would signal a change in attitudes & fuel prices...
      • 7 Years Ago
      You know, people are always going to need trucks. People will always need to haul things that can't fit into a trunk or are too messy for the inside. Also, people will always have a need for towing. With gas prices going the way they are, Ford should start looking into a new Ranger for here and maybe some people with full sized trucks that don't really need them will look into the new Ranger.

      I'm moving this weekend, about a 250 mile round trip. I am borrowing my older brother's 1997 F150. I've done this route in his truck before and it costs over $100 in gas. I'd love to have a smaller truck that could tow a small UHaul and not have to spend $100 on gas.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yes Jay its a rebadged Mazda BT50 with a new grill. The same factory in Thailand makes both Mazda and Ford versions.

      Australia gets both.

      Dan
      • 7 Years Ago
      "In fact, happy go lucky CEO Allen Mulally went so far to say that he expects Ford will one day achieve two thirds of its global sales outside our proud borders."

      ...and somehow he doesn't realize that if we were provided with interesting products in the States, he could probably not depend on the rest of the world to keep FoMoCo US afloat?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have commented several times on this board that I own a '93 Ranger. Good, solid truck, used to be my daily driver, still does does what I need it to do. I would love to be able to replace it with a shiny new Ranger one of these days, but Ford keeps sticking out that same tired
      re-hash of a truck that was last updated almost 10 years ago. Practically the only change since 2000 has been a succession of uglier and uglier freshenings of the grille. That's no way to reward brand loyalty.

      Ford sold more than 300,000 Rangers in 2000. Think they could sell somewhere close to that if they brought over this truck with the 3.0L turbodiesel and decent brakes? With gas at $3.00/gallon? I guess next time I will have to look at Nissan - that's the only compact truck left that has any appeal for me.
      • 7 Years Ago
      NEEDED BY FORD in the USA as a 4door, not the sporttrack the want to be truck
      • 7 Years Ago
      @ T

      I think in a lot of cases car makers will charge what the market is willing to pay, also we have some pretty heavy tax over here for instance a double cab ranger attracts in Ireland 21% sales tax plus a further 13.5% registration tax, we have one a 2007 new model 2.5 tdci it will pull 3 ton carry 1 ton in the bed and deliver 31mpg us on the highway but not all at the same time. The model yeah have was discontinued over here end of 2006 and ford in Ireland are selling 10 times as many now they have this one, but the nissan navara diesel (fronteir)is still the top selling pickup here.
      • 7 Years Ago
      With the new CAFE standards, I believe that compact trucks will have a new found place in the market place. Plus putting in a new diesel would make it very desirable. Come on Ford look into the future once and take a chance on what could be. I'm a die hard Ford fan and this just seesm to make way to much sense now with the new cAFE standards making the automotive companies complain. A compact deisel truck, makes sense to me.
      • 7 Years Ago
      New Ranger elsewhere while the US model fades away, just like Australia and Europe gets the good stuff (Falcon, Territory, Mondeo,Focus). No wonder Ford is in trouble at home. Just once I would like to see the US get some decent cars.
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