When it comes to South Africa's automotive history, Ford has truly left its mark. Back in 1923, Ford Motor Company of South Africa was founded in the vibrant city of Port Elizabeth, now known as Gqeberha. Little did they know that this would be the beginning of an enduring legacy.
Fast forward 41 years later, and the Struandale Engine Plant opened its doors, forever changing the landscape of local engine manufacturing. With an impressive investment of R8 million, Ford became the first motor company in South Africa to produce engines locally. Since then, the Struandale plant has played a pivotal role in Ford's manufacturing and export operations.
Just recently, in August 2023, a groundbreaking moment took place at the Struandale Engine Plant. The production line saw its four-millionth engine come to life. And what an engine it is! A 2.0-litre four-cylinder Bi-Turbo diesel engine, ready to power a brand new Ranger bakkie (or truck, as you might call it). The Ranger is not only a favorite among South African drivers but also in more than 100 global markets. With an annual capacity to produce up to 200,000 vehicles, it's no wonder that the Ranger is one of South Africa's leading vehicle exports. In fact, between January and September 2023, a whopping 45,793 Ranger vehicles have been exported, all fitted with engines supplied by the Struandale plant.
And that's not all! The Struandale Engine Plant has another reason to celebrate. This momentous occasion coincides with the production of the 300,000th 2.0L Single Turbo/Bi-Turbo diesel engine since its launch in 2018. Renowned for its impressive performance, reliability, and fuel efficiency, this engine family has truly made its mark. In fact, it powered the Ranger to victory in the 2019 WesBank Fuel Economy Tour, showcasing its power and efficiency. To top it all off, the 2.0-litre engines underwent further improvements in 2022, enhancing noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels for an even smoother and more comfortable ride.
Let's not forget about the other engines produced at the Struandale Engine Plant. The 2.2L and 3.2L Duratorq TDCi engines, introduced in 2011, have been powering Ford vehicles with exceptional performance. And adding to the lineup is the new 3.0L V6 Diesel engine, exclusively reserved for the range-topping models in the new Ranger series. Introduced in 2022 after a remarkable R600 million investment, this engine delivers unmatched power and performance.
Reflecting on these achievements, Ockert Berry, VP Operations of Ford South Africa, shares his excitement, stating, "Our plant in Gqeberha remains a cornerstone of the automotive industry in Nelson Mandela Bay and is a vital part of our local manufacturing operations. Our major investments have paved the way for remarkable milestones, including the production of four million engines and counting."
Ford's commitment to excellence and innovation is evident in every engine produced at the Struandale plant. With a rich history and an even brighter future, one thing is for sure – Ford is driving South Africa forward, one engine at a time.