Ford South Africa has achieved a manufacturing milestone with the production of the 1-millionth Ranger bakkie – a ‘counting’ process that began with the first generation of the bakkie in 2000 and reaches the landmark in the same year the company celebrates its centenary locally.

The Ranger’s legacy in South Africa spans three generations and has become a cornerstone of Ford’s local offerings and one of the country’s most popular models. It has amassed numerous awards and made a significant impact on businesses, communities, and individuals, elevating South Africa’s automotive industry on the global stage.

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Ford SA assembly line for Ranger

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“It’s fitting that we celebrate reaching and now rapidly surpassing the one-millionth locally produced Ranger during Ford’s Centenary year in South Africa,” says Neale Hill, president of Ford Motor Company Africa.

“Production of the first-generation Ranger began in 2000, coinciding with the official return of Ford Motor Company to South Africa. Both events were pivotal in the brand’s local history, setting the tone for Ford’s strong commitment to the country.

“We have continued to invest extensively in our local operations at the Silverton Manufacturing Plant and the Struandale Engine Plant to expand Ranger production for the South African market and support crucial exports to over 100 global markets.

“At our Centenary event last year, we were pleased to announce further investment for the exciting new Ranger Plug-in Hybrid EV, the latest chapter in this remarkable story. This underscores the importance of our local operations and the contribution of our South African team to the global success of the Ranger programme.”

Ford Ranger bakkie front three quarter

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The first-generation Ranger was produced between 2000 and 2011, marking Ford South Africa’s initial significant entry into export markets beginning in 2008. Right-hand drive and left-hand drive models were shipped from the Silverton Manufacturing Plant to markets across Africa. Production concluded in late 2011, with more than 100 000 Rangers manufactured in a multi-platform assembly facility producing both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

With the second-generation Ranger, Ford’s first global pick-up truck, production at the Silverton plant transitioned to a high-volume, flexible single platform for the 2011 Ranger, focusing on the global export programme with an initial installed capacity of 110 000 vehicles per year. This also led to significant investments in the Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha for the machining and assembly of the 2,2-litre and 3,2-litre Duratorq TDCi engines.

The second-generation Ranger’s chapter closed in November 2022, with a total of 873 751 units produced in South Africa, around two-thirds of which were exported.

The launch of the third and current-generation Ranger at the end of 2022 followed a massive investment and expansion programme for the Silverton Manufacturing Plant, increasing installed capacity to 200 000 vehicles a year – or 720 vehicles a day, the highest volume for any vehicle manufacturer in South Africa.

Colin Windell