Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s (FMCSA’s) Silverton assembly plant, in Pretoria, has produced its 500 000th Ford Ranger.
“The current Ford Ranger has been a remarkable success story for FMCSA, and we are delighted to have reached the 500 000 mark for this vehicle programme,” Ford Middle East and Africa Operations VP Ockert Berry said on Tuesday.
The Ranger has been one of the top-selling vehicles in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment in South Africa, as well as in the overall sales charts. Its highest domestic sales figure of 3 333 units was achieved in July 2017.
In terms of export volumes, 8 062 units were shipped from Silverton to customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in April this year. Combined local and export volumes for the month topped out at a record-breaking 10 434 units, making the Ranger the highest volume LCV model produced in South Africa.
The half-millionth unit – a Wildtrak 3.2 Double Cab – was painted in the model's distinctive Pride Orange, and signifies the Ranger's legacy since production started in 2011, Berry added.
“Early next year, we are set to launch the Ford Ranger Raptor, which will add a new chapter to the Ranger's legacy in South Africa and across the region,” Berry highlighted.
Ford invested more than R3-billion in its South African 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.
This was followed with a further R3-billion investment in 2017 to expand 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 and at the Struandale engine plant, in Port Elizabeth, which produces the Duratorq TDCi engines for the Ranger.”
The Ranger has introduced a range of safety, comfort and convenience features, including three generations of Ford’s 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.
The performance delivered by its 2.2 ℓ and 3.2 ℓ Duratorq TDCi engines has equally contributed to its popularity, while the introduction of sophisticated automatic transmissions across a range of models and engine capacities has reshaped the buying patterns of customers in the pick-up segment, noted Berry.
Traditionally long model-cycles associated with the LCV segment have been reduced with the Ranger, as regular feature and equipment upgrades over the past seven years have ensured that Ford's pick-up range remains up to date.
“The Ranger received a comprehensive update in 2015 that saw the debut of more muscular styling, along with technology and feature enhancements that included SYNC3 and the subsequent addition of embedded navigation on high-spec models,” he said.