[South Africa] Ford Struandale engine plant looks to expand production in 2018 as it marks milestone
The Ford Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth has reached significant production milestones this year as it gears up for expanded production to support the R3-billion investment in its local operations by Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.
In December 2017, the Struandale Engine Plant assembled its 500 000th Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel engine since the program was launched in 2011 for the new Ford Ranger, which is built at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and exported to over 148 markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
This takes the total volume of engines produced at the Port Elizabeth plant to 3.3-million units since it opened its doors in the Struandale industrial area in 1964.
Ford has a long ahistory in Port Elizabeth, having started its operations in the city in 1923. The Struandale Engine Plant has been a cornerstone of Ford’s South African legacy, evolving continuously over the past 53 years to become a regional centre of excellence for the Ranger engine export program.
“Reaching 500 000 Duratorq TDCi engines, and a cumulative 3.3-million engines since 1964, is a fantastic achievement for the Struandale Engine Plant which competes with some of the best Ford plants in the world,” says Ockert Berry, vice president of Operations, Ford Middle East and Africa. “It is one of the Eastern Cape’s top exporters, contributing to the success of the automotive industry and its supplier network in the region.”
Fully assembled 2.2-litre four-cylinder and 3.2-litre five-cylinder Duratorq TDCi engines are supplied to the Silverton Assembly Plant for installation in the locally-built Ford Ranger pick-up and the seven-seater Ford Everest SUV.
Engines are also exported to India and China to support their production of the Ford Everest, along with five-cylinder units being shipped to North America for the Ford Transit. A total of 34 engine derivatives are produced for the various vehicle applications.
Along with its assembly operations, the Struandale Engine Plant also machines components for the Duratorq TDCi engines, comprising the cylinder head, block and crankshaft, which are used for local engine assembly, as well as export to Ford engine plants in Argentina and Thailand. More than 1.3-million component sets have been produced since 2011.
“Due to its unprecedented global success, demand continues to grow, both locally and internationally for the Ford Ranger,” Berry states. “Accordingly, we have invested R3-billion for both product and capacity related actions to accommodate the increasing market volumes for the Ranger in South Africa and our export markets.
“The Struandale Engine Plant already achieved its highest-ever volumes for component machining and engine assembly during 2017, and we expect to set new records again in 2018,” he adds. “The R3-billion investment reaffirms Ford’s ongoing commitment to South Africa as a local manufacturer, exporter and key employer in the automotive sector, supporting a large number of direct jobs as well as indirect employment through our extensive supplier base.”
Additionally, Ford is preparing for the launch of the first-ever Ranger Raptor. “The Ford Ranger is already one of South Africa’s best-selling vehicles, and we’re exceptionally proud to confirm that this highly anticipated performance model will be assembled in South Africa from 2019,” says Dr Casper Kruger, managing director of Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region.
“This is yet another fantastic achievement for our local team, and signals our ability to produce world-class products of the highest calibre.”
As an exciting new addition to the Ford Performance family, the Ford Ranger Raptor is a purpose-built, desert-racing inspired model that builds on the unrivalled heritage of Ford Performance’s legendary F-150 Raptor, the world’s most extreme production pickup.
Designed and engineered to deliver an adrenaline-pumping driving experience, the Ford Ranger Raptor sports a head-turning exterior look that exudes toughness as well as a level of capability and off-road performance never before seen in this segment.