In the realm of motoring, the year 2023 is synonymous with an exceptional achievement for Ford SA. This automaker has reached a momentous centenary of 100 years of automotive excellence in Mzansi. A moment of celebration and triumph unfolded at the Silverton Plant in Pretoria, capturing hearts and igniting excitement among all attendees fortunate enough to be present.
Celebrating Ford SA History
To celebrate this remarkable feat, avid Ford car enthusiasts gathered at the factory for an extravagant event, exhibiting an extraordinary array of classic and modern vehicles. This occasion was attended by media, top-level executives, and even the Ford family, who elevated the importance of this historic gathering by sharing heartfelt words of gratitude, wisdom, and aspirations for future endeavors.
Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid
In celebrating its proud 100-year legacy, there was the announcement of a R5.2 billion (US$272 million) investment in its local operations for production of the first-ever Ford Ranger Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The model, poised to revolutionize the automotive segment it belongs to with Hybrid technology draws inspiration from the recently introduced Wildtrak X variant and incorporates a 2.3-liter EcoBoost petrol powertrain mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, alongside a fully electric motor. The addition of the electric motor enables the Ranger PHEV to offer a purely electric driving experience for a distance of up to 45km.
The investment for the plug-in hybrid version of the Ranger incorporates a new battery pack assembly plant that is being constructed within the Silverton plant for the PHEV system. Ford’s Chassis Plant in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) is also being upgraded to accommodate the unique chassis configuration for this model, including changes to the robots, welding equipment, control systems, conveyors and skids.
Furthermore, the vehicle assembly operations are being adapted to accommodate the Ranger Plug-in Hybrid, specifically on the Trim, Chassis and Final (TCF) line. This includes changes to the handling equipment, turnover fixtures, charging systems, leak detection and testing equipment, as well as a new repair area. The Silverton Assembly Plant has an installed capacity to produce 720 vehicles per day over three shifts, or 200,000 vehicles per year.
New, 7th Generation Ford Mustang
Additionally, Ford has officially announced the 2024 launch of the all-new Ford Mustang Fastback GT, which boasts a 357kW 5.0L Coyote V8 engine. The seventh-generation Mustang is the most exhilarating and visceral yet, from its edgier yet timeless exterior design to the fighter jet-inspired digital cockpit and advanced range of engines. There will also be a Ford Mustang EcoBoost which features the all-new turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine delivering 231kW.
Ford Mustang Dark Horse
This announcement coincides with the unveiling of the track-oriented Mustang Dark Horse, the most powerful naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 Mustang ever at 373kW. This model comes standard with a unique six-speed TREMEC manual transmission driving the rear wheels. The 10 speed auto is also available.
Ford Mustang Dark Horse customers can equip the model with lightweight carbon fiber wheels from Carbon Revolution. It’s the first time carbon fiber wheels have been available for a Mustang beyond Shelby® GT350® and GT500.®
The Puma is set to debut in the coming months, targeting a youthful and spirited audience. It will feature a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost powertrain, providing power to the front wheels, and will be offered with a 7-speed automatic transmission. This model fills the gap left by the hugely popular EcoSport and its adds design flair to practicality.
Ford Tourneo Custom and Ford Transit Custom
Additionally, the new Ford Tourneo Custom and Ford Transit Custom are also in development. These vehicles cater to different needs, with the Tourneo specifically designed for family-oriented individuals, while the Transit ensures efficient handling of business operations.
The Trend model should arrive in the first quarter of 2024 while the Titanium X and Sport variants will be locally available by mid-year. Designed to enhance the multi-activity vehicle experience for both personal-use and business customers, Tourneo Custom features an optimised platform that delivers generous cabin space. Standard and long wheelbase models deliver next-level practicality across the range.
The optimised chassis architecture with independent rear suspension offers a new level of ride comfort and stability, supported by the new smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission option and Ford’s proven 2.0-litre Single Turbo diesel engine delivering up to 131kW in the Sport and Titanium X models.
The Transit Custom is built on an all-new vehicle architecture that has a 100mm lower cargo floor and improved cabin access for easier loading and unloading, along with an extensive range of innovative features to help maximise productivity during the working day. The base model is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2024, while the Sport will hit local shores by the middle of next year.
Ford Ranger Tremor
The Ford Ranger bakkie will gain another spec as in the following months there will be the introduction of the Ford Ranger Tremor. Tremor is based on the XLT series and incorporates a substantially reworked chassis with wider track and higher ground clearance, along with Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers and off-road focused driver assistance systems as standard.
Ford Ranger Platinum
There will also be the introduction of the Ford Ranger Platinum spec locally, a luxurious variant equipped with cutting-edge technology and comfort. The Ranger Platinum is positioned above the popular Wildtrak models and raises luxury and comfort in the Ranger family. It is aimed at customers who appreciate the premium levels of comfort and technology from high-end road cars, but who rely on the toughness and all-round productivity that consistently make Ranger the double cab leader in South Africa.