About 1,200 jobs will be created in South Africa as Ford invests R2.5 billion ($167 million) in its South African operations to commence the production of the Everest sport utility vehicle.
As culled from a Bloomberg report, Dearlove, Michigan-based Ford related in a statement that Ford’s plant in Pretoria will be expanded to enable it build 10,000 Everest SUVs each year. And that it will be the fourth major production plant for the SUV after those in Thailand, India and China.
The intent BuzzSouthAfrica gathered, is for Ford to start producing the Everest in South Africa in the third quarter, and then sell the vehicles across sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking during a formal presentation of the investment package, Ford’s president of Europe, Middle East and Africa – Jim Farley asserted that the investment is a demonstration of Ford’s commitment to South Africa and Africa.
“When your plant gets a new vehicle it’s a big deal…Today we are demonstrating our commitment to South Africa and Africa as a long-term strategic export base for the Ford Motor Company,” Jim stated.
Also, the company’s president of Middle East and Africa related that “Ford will start manufacturing 30 new vehicle models by 2020 in African countries, including South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana and Kenya.”
Meanwhile, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa in its latest 4th quarter 2015 review of business conditions in the sector highlighted the below:
- Aggregate Industry employment levels increased by 167 jobs to reach 31 432 positions at end December, 2015
- Based on data collated at the beginning of the calendar year, 2016 Industry capital expenditure projected at a record R7.63 billion
- Industry capacity utilization levels benefited from higher levels of vehicle production and remained at elevated levels during the quarter
- Domestic new commercial vehicle sales showed resilience, however, the consumer driven new car market registered weakness
- 2015 Industry aggregate production rose by 49 527 units – an improvement of 8.7%. Industry production expected to rise further over the next few years on the back of the Automotive Production Development Programme and an increase in vehicle exports
- The outlook for 2016 is unfavourable. Against the background of the difficult economic environment and low growth prospects, the likelihood of well above inflation new vehicle price increases as a result of the weak Rand and expectations of further interest rate hikes – the consumer demand sensitive new car market is anticipated to decline by around 9.0% in volume terms to about 375 000 units in 2016 down from the 412 670 new cars sold in 2015. New commercial vehicle sales are expected to decline by around 5.0% in volume terms.