WHILE the Nigerian automobile industry is struggling to find its feet, Ford Motor Company’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria has reached a significant milestone with the assembly of the 500,000th current generation Ford Ranger.
The half-millionth unit, a Wildtrak 3.2 Double Cab, was fittingly painted in the range-topping model’s distinctive and exclusive Pride Orange, and signifies the Ranger’s segment-defining legacy since production commenced in 2011.
“The current Ford Ranger has been a remarkable success story for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, and we are delighted to have reached the 500 000 mark for this vehicle programme,” said Ockert Berry, VP Operations, Ford Middle East and Africa.
“Ford invested more than R3-billion in our local operations for the launch of the Ranger in 2011 to cater for the South African market and exports to over 148 markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We followed this up with a further R3-billion investment in 2017 to further expand our production capacity to meet the growing worldwide demand for the Ranger,” Berry added.
“This reaffirms our role as an integral part of Ford’s global manufacturing network with world-class operations at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, and at the Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth which produces the Duratorq TDCi engines for the Ranger.”
The trend-setting Ranger has introduced a wide range of cutting-edge safety, comfort and convenience features to the pick-up segment over the years. This includes three generations of Ford’s award-winning SYNC® infotainment system, as well as advanced driver assistance technologies such as Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping System which are standard on the Ranger Wildtrak.
Equally, the exceptional performance delivered by its 2.2 and 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engines has contributed to its remarkable popularity, while the introduction of sophisticated automatic transmissions across a wide range of models and both engine capacities has reshaped the buying patterns of customers in the pick-up segment.
Traditionally, long model cycles associated with the LCV segment have been slashed with the Ranger, as regular feature and equipment upgrades over the past seven years have ensured that Ford’s pick-up range remains at the top of its game. Most notably, the Ranger received a comprehensive update in 2015 that saw the debut of even more muscular styling, along with technology and feature enhancements that included SYNC®3 and the subsequent addition of embedded navigation on high-spec models.