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PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, 27 June, 2011 – Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s (FMCSA) Struandale engine plant today began production of a new engine, heralding its role as a global hub for diesel engines.
The production of the Ford Duratorq TDCi engine in South Africa is part of a Rand 3.4 billion (US$ 500 million) export investment programme that includes the upgrade and expansion of production facilities at FMCSA’s engine plant and Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria.
Utilizing Ford’s global manufacturing processes and quality standards, the Struandale engine plant has upgraded and expanded its assembly and machining capabilities and now has an annual production capacity of 75,000 engines and 220,000 engine component kits.
Struandale’s Duratorq TDCi engines will power the next-generation global Ford Ranger pick-up truck, which will be built in the Silverton Assembly Plant, and which now has an expanded annual production capacity of 110,000 vehicles.
“This new diesel engine will help drive our transformation in South Africa, and it is a key reason the all-new Ford Ranger pickup truck is a class leader in such a globally competitive segment,” said Lewis Booth, Ford executive vice president and chief financial officer. “I am pleased to announce today that this All-New Ford Ranger will be exported from South Africa to 148 markets around the world, solidifying South Africa’s role as a key operation in Ford’s global manufacturing footprint.”
Booth joined employees and key stakeholders at a launch celebration today in South Africa, where he was group managing director from 1997 to 2000.
“This programme is more than just an engine, it is confirmation that our Struandale engine plant is truly world-class in every respect” said Jeff Nemeth, FMCSA president and CEO. “The remarkable transformation that has taken place is the result of the extraordinary dedication and support of our employees, suppliers and partners.”
Uniquely, the Struandale Engine Plant is the only Ford facility that shares both component machining and engine assembly for the Duratorq TDCi diesel engine programme supporting the Ford Ranger. The machined components are used for engine kits which are exported to other Ford Ranger assembly plants, and the fully assembled engines will be used in the South African-built Ranger.
“The diesel engine programme represents an entirely new era for the Struandale Engine Plant, which, through Ford’s stringent global quality standards, has undergone a complete transformation to ensure that it competes with the best in the world.” explained Struandale’s plant manager, Wallace Yearwood.
Over the last 24 months, the plant has been completely overhauled, including the construction of an entirely new assembly hall for the Duratorq TDCi programme, which expands the total floor area to 16,514 sqm.
The high-tech assembly hall was fitted with the latest, most advanced equipment, systems and processes, and is complemented by a specialised clean-room, state-of-the-art cold and hot-test benches, as well as an all-new dynamometer specifically developed for the production of the high-torque Duratorq TDCi diesel engines.
“Employee training has been central to this project. We launched a new Training Centre last year, and every operator has been through extensive simulation training to ensure that we’re able to deliver engines that meet all quality, cost, and efficiency requirements. Our employees are simply the best.” Yearwood added.