The new Ford Ranger. photo courtesy of Ford.

Ford adding 800 jobs in South Africa due to rapid Ranger sales

After investing R3.4 billion to upgrade the Silverton Assembly Plant and Struandale Engine Plant in Pretoria, South Africa, Ford is reaping rewards with rabid sales of Ranger pickups in Africa and Europe. Consequently they are adding a second shift employing 800 new workers in the African nation to keep up with demand.

The second shift was added to the assembly line at Silverton, while a third shift is being initiated at the engine facility just to keep up with the pace of sales.

“The customers have spoken, and they want more of the quality, cost and capability offered by our Ranger pickup trucks,” said Jeff Nemeth, President and CEO of FMCSA. “In order to meet continued strong demand in South Africa and abroad, we are adding shifts to our operations, creating jobs and confirming our commitment to South Africa. We invested significantly to transform our operations, and it is our strong belief that these jobs have the power to transform people’s lives as well.

“In addition, creating new jobs is incredibly empowering and helps make a difference in the communities where we have operations.”

Indeed, bringing African nations out of third world subsistence is the most productive way to bring stability to a war-torn continent.

Just last year, Ford announced the completion of its South African manufacturing and assembly plants enabling it to boost the production and exportation of the new Ranger pickups to 148 countries in Africa and Europe. Both plants have reportedly been converted to world-class fabrication facilities.

“The main objective of training the potential new employees is to give trainees a better understanding of our industry and equip them with the necessary skills to take up positions in the plant and start building world-class Rangers,” Nemeth said. “A core part of our production philosophy is to empower the operators by giving them the right tools and training to build the highest quality vehicles possible.

“Our enthusiasm for technical innovation is always tempered by our responsibility to the vehicle, to our customers and their safety. As a result of the day-to-day commitment, products that meet such high quality demands also require high standards from people producing them. We’re investing in the continuous training and education of our employees. Each one of the 800 potential new employees underwent comprehensive pre-employment assessment prior to the commencement of training. The successful candidates underwent stringent classroom and on-the-job training; they are now equipped to build high quality Rangers.

“As part of the One Ford plan, and to maintain a viable and strategic presence in Southern Africa, we require a globally integrated supply chain and a highly trained workforce,” said Nemeth. “We are pleased with the investments in South Africa and we are committed to having world-class facilities and standards.”

Tomorrow we will tell you about the new Driver Assist technology available in the 2013 Ford Fusion and our interview with two of the technicians behind it, bringing pre-collision, automatic parking and blind spot detection to non-luxury vehicles.