Ford(FMCSA)is to invest more than R3 000 million to expand operations for the production of Ford's next-generation compact pick-up truck and Puma diesel engine.
This announcement represents an additional R1 500 million to the previous investment announced in 2008.
The increased investment covers higher levels of mechanisation and component development required to deliver vehicles of world class quality.
The investment started in 2009 with the upgrade and expansion of production facilities at the company's assembly plant in Silverton, Pretoria, and its engine plant in Struandale, Port Elizabeth.
The assembly plant in Silverton, scheduled to begin production of its new compact pick-up truck in 2011, will be transformed into a high-volume, flexible single platform line that will accommodate the new pick-up truck.
The plant will be positioned as a Ford regional centre of excellence for the new global compact pick-up truck.
The upgrade of production facilities at the Struandale engine plant is also currently underway.
The engine plant will start production of the next generation Puma diesel engine in early 2011.
The investment will increase total annual capacity at the Silverton assembly plant to 110 000 units, with approximately 75 percent of the vehicles being produced for export, primarily to markets in Africa and Europe.
The Struandale engine plant will install annual capacity for 220 000 machined components of which 75 000 will be used for engine assembly for the Silverton assembly plant and the balance will be exported.
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 motor industry's current and future workforce to ensure they possess the necessary skills required to support the launch.
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 increase to more than 60 percent when production begins.
Working with roughly 66 different South African suppliers, annual spending on local
components will increase from an estimated R2 000 million each year to approximately R6 500 million.