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Ford South Africa turns 100 - announces awesome additions to product lineup, including Mustang Mach-E!
FORD SOUTH AFRICA TURNS 100 - ANNOUNCES AWESOME ADDITIONS TO PRODUCT LINEUP, INCLUDING MUSTANG MACH-E!
It’s quite a big thing, having a car maker in South Africa that’s just hit 100 years of operation. Cars in general have only been around about 20 years longer and that makes our little country one of the first in the world to manufacture cars. As a result, the Ford brand is deeply entrenched in the country with literally millions of fans. There’s barely a family out there that doesn’t have a Ford-related story of some kind. I grew up in Kempton Park and can attest that the old joke of 1,2,3 is more fact than anything else. Every other toppie’s Saturday morning was spent with a 1-litre brandy, 2-litre Coke and a 3.0-litre Ford. I have loads of Ford memories from learning how they work while in primary school to trying to cover up riding shotgun when a friend’s powerslide went a little different to plan and we mounted a pavement - successfully wrecking the suspension and punching a hole in the diff of his dad’s prize possession, an ‘89 Sierra XR6… So November 2023 is a big month for Ford in SA, it marks the 100th anniversary - the company has pretty much been part of modern SA since modern SA was a thing. To mark the auspicious occasion, the company hosted special guests, dealers, suppliers, media and hundreds of Ford employees at their massive Silverton premises.
Ford may have US origins, but Ford is South Africa. It’s come a long way from the 1923 factory in the then Port Elizebeth, that was able to produce 10 cars a day. Now, Ford directly employs around 5,200 people in South Africa, and when you add in the local operations, the company supports around 60,000 jobs contributing more than 1 percent to South Africa’s GDP. That’s massive. The company has always given back to the community and the country, and that continues with the announcement of three legacy CSR projects, totalling R85 million, launched to build 100 maths and science labs and 100 early childhood development centres in underprivileged communities and fund a further 100 youth scholarships to promote science, technology, engineering and maths. On the manufacturing side, Ford announced a whopping R5.2 billion investment in the Silverton plant to ready it for the production of the first-ever Ranger Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). These will be for export to Europe, and now also Australia and New Zealand, SA won’t be seeing them for a while.
In celebration of the milestone anniversary, Ford set up an amazing display showing the company’s highlights and a timeline of the cars that have been made in SA over the years. An interesting part was the number of each model manufactured, these guys sell a lot of cars! Adding to the timeline display, we were treated to some pretty special cars parked around. The GT40 and new-generation GTs are always nice to look at, as is a minter of a Cortina bakkie. I checked out the displays, read a lot of the timeline info and then settled in for the presentation by the special guests and Ford top brass. It turns out there was also a sizeable display of old Fords outside the tent, but no one told us, we only figured it out when we were leaving the event and spotted a row of classic Fords lining the road outside the Ford plant. They would have made for some proper epic photos. Adding to the festivities, a slew of new models was announced and of course, there was a Ranger or two in there. For the adventure-oriented types, there’s the new Ranger Tremor based on the XLT but with added things to make it more suited to the outdoor lifestyle, complete with an interior that can be easily washed/wiped down and features like Position-Sensitive Dampers, off-road-focused driver assistance systems, a reworked chassis with wider track and higher ground clearance, along with Bilstein suspension. Polar opposite is the new Ranger Platinum which has been outfitted to be ultra-luxurious and will no doubt soon be found in every Fourways parking lot. It’s a grand-looking thing and lives up to the Platinum name, and then some. On the people-carrying side, there’s the all-new Tourneo van that’s going to be a holiday favourite and will no doubt end up as a VIP shuttle transfer van. The commercial version, the Transit Custom, arrives at the same time and will no doubt become a top choice for delivery companies and those needing reliable covered product transport. This is one that would make an epic mobile studio. On the SUV front, the Territory nameplate has been revived and it comes in the form of a good-looking 5-seater SUV that fills a gap below the Everest.
And then there’s the fast stuff, the Coyote-powered 7th generation Mustang is coming in 2024 and the lineup includes theall-new Dark Horse, the most powerful normally aspirated Mustang to date with all the right tweaks and changes to make it a weekend track toy with brilliant handling. 2024 is not far away, just saying. In a little over a year, we’ll also be getting the new Mustang Mach-E, the all-electric pony car that’s stupendously fast. There’s 358 kW of electric power on tap and it can get the EV up to 100 km/h in as little as 3.7 seconds, trim level dependant. “This is a momentous occasion as we celebrate Ford’s Centenary in South Africa. From humble beginnings that established Ford in South Africa in November 1923, our team and facilities here have grown into a world-class operation that delivers the highest-quality vehicles to our customers in South Africa and around the world. It reinforces our family-company beliefs and values that continue to guide our business and are a source of pride for the families who have worked here for generations, the dealers who have been the face of the brand for decades, and our loyal customers who embody the enthusiasm for the Blue Oval,” said Elena Ford, Chief Dealer Engagement officer, Ford Motor Company.
Take a look at the YouTube video from the 100-year centenary celebrations recently held at the automaker's massive home base in Silverton, Pretoria. The event was attended by a few top Ford execs from Michigan, including Henry Ford's great granddaughter, as well as loads of media and most important - hundreds of Ford employees who are the backbone of the South African operation: Ford South Africa Centenary Livestream: Celebration of The Century | Ford South Africa
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