Ford South Africa expands workforce with assembly plant investment

1 Main Image Ford Silverton Assembly Line 1Ford South Africa has created around 1,200 incremental jobs by adding a third shift as part of the US$1.05bn investment in its Silverton Assembly Plant

The local workforce has increased from the current 4,200 Ford South Africa employees to approximately 5,000, along with an additional 440 jobs at the plant’s on-site service provider. This takes the total Ford employees at the Silverton facility to over 4,100, with 850 people employed at Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth). 

The reintroduction of the third shift will support expanded production of the current Ranger pickup to meet strong local and international demand. It will also enable an increased production capacity for the next-generation Ranger, starting in 2022.

This is the first use of a three-shift production schedule since it was implemented as a temporary measure during the second half of 2019 to fulfil higher production volumes required for the current Ranger.

Ockert Berry, VP operations at Ford South Africa, commented, “Our key objectives with the US$1.05bn investment in the Silverton Assembly Plant and our supplier facilities are to expand our production capacity, and to introduce the most advanced technologies and systems as we modernise our manufacturing operations to bring them in line with the best in the world.”

“Crucially for our communities, the higher production volumes mean more jobs, and we are delighted to add the 1,200 jobs that now fill the third shift from the beginning of September.” 

With the additional shift, the Silverton Assembly Plant will be capable of producing up to 720 vehicles per day, or 240 units per shift – which equates to one new Ranger coming off the line every two minutes. Two-thirds of the Rangers produced are exported to more than 100 global markets, including Europe where it is the top-selling pickup. The balance is sold in South Africa, regularly achieving overall top-three sales.

When the next-generation Ranger is launched in 2022, the facility will have an annual installed capacity for 200,000 vehicles – which is nearly double the 110,000 units it was capable of when production of the current Ranger pickup began in 2011, and a significant increase from the 168,000 units prior to the commencement of the latest investment.

To realise the new production targets, the Silverton plant’s assembly line has undergone an extensive transformation focused on wide-ranging upgrades to modernise the facility, enhance efficiency and improve production quality throughout the plant. Additionally, Ford is currently constructing an all-new Body Shop and Stamping Plant on the Silverton site, along with a new in-house Frame Line in the adjacent Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ).

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