South Africa: Three Insights From Three Decades in the Car Business


Overseeing SA's biggest infrastructure investment in two decades while managing a massive manufacturing and export operation is only achieved with total commitment by all personnel.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Nobody would dispute that Ford knows how to build motor vehicles.

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa is closing in on a century of doing so, having started assembling the Ford Model T in a converted woolshed in Gqeberha, Port Elizabeth then in 1923.

We contribute more than 1% of South Africa's GDP by exporting two-thirds of our local production of nearly 170,000 vehicles to more than 100 global markets. Ford invested R11-billion in South Africa between 2009 and 2018 to bolster that output.

Naturally, we're proud of that. But business, like life, is never static. In February 2021 we announced an investment of $1.05-billion in our South African manufacturing operations - the biggest investment in Ford's 97-year history in South Africa.

It's a massive undertaking that will transform our Silverton operation specifically, increasing our annual installed capacity to 200,000, supporting production of the all-new Ford Ranger pick-up for the domestic market and export. The expanded production will help create 1,200 incremental Ford jobs in SA,...

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