In its 97 years of business marketing in South Africa, Ford Motor Company has decided to invest US$1.05 billion in the South African manufacturing units for the first time. This is the highest investment ever made by Ford in the South African automotive industry, thus enhancing productivity and creating employment opportunities. The huge investment at Ford’s Silverton Assembly plant is not just aimed to increase automotive production but also aimed at progressing the overall GDP of the nation by 1.1 percent through the revenues generated at the manufacturing unit. The annual quantity and capacity would eventually be increased to 200,000 from 168,000. This in turn would help in the production of the all-new Ford Ranger pickup truck for the domestic market. Apart from this, Volkswagen pickup trucks as part of the Ford-VW strategic alliance are also expected to be manufactured in this Silverton Assembly plant.
Along with a boost in sales, this huge investment will provide aid in the employment sector by creating as many as 1200 jobs in this plant thus making 5500 employees as the local workforce. The local supplier network too will see an increase with the addition of 10,000 new jobs summing the total workforce to 60,000.
The total investment of US$686 million at the Silverton assembly plant will not only increase the production numbers but also improve the production volume and the quality of automobiles. This investment would help in constructing a new body shop with the latest robotic technology and a new high-tech stamping plant and the automakers have confirmed their presence at the on-site probably for the first time.
As per the requirements of the new ranger, all the major sheet metal components will be produced by high speed-line using the new stamping plant. This would comprise a fully automated storage and retrieval system for stamping dies which would reduce the labour intensive process to a major extent. There will also be a light blue scanner system present that will scan the imperfections present on the surfaces thus giving quality products.
Ford Motors is also planning to set up training centers to ensure the employees are equipped with the finest knowledge and experience regarding the work at the Silverton assembly plant.
The new investment lays its grounds on the Project Blue Oval renewable energy project, which is in sync with Ford’s target of utilizing 100% locally sourced renewable energy for their production units by 2035 along with the target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Ford Motors is also planning to invest US$365 million (R5.5 billion) for enhancing tooling at the company’s major supplier factories.
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